CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Josh Jackson threw a touchdown pass and No. 24 Virginia Tech beat Virginia for the 14th consecutive time, 10-0 on Friday night.
The Hokies (9-3, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) limited the Cavaliers to 5 rushing yards and 191 overall in posting their third shutout of the season.
Virginia (6-6, 3-5) had two golden opportunities for touchdowns, but Juan Thornhill slipped after intercepting a pass with nothing but green grass in front of him, and speedy wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus caught a slant pattern that looked like it might go 89 yards, but he was caught from behind by Deon Newsome after just 28.
As expected, the game was a defensive struggle, but the Hokies made enough plays to remain unbeaten against Virginia since joining the ACC in 2004.
Brian Johnson, subbing for Virginia Tech’s career field goal record-holder Joey Slye, kicked a 30-yard field goal early in the second quarter. Jackson later converted a lost fumble by Virginia’s Chris Sharp on the second play of the second half into points, driving 40 yards in four plays and hitting Chris Cunningham from 8 yards out.
It was the redshirt freshman’s 19th touchdown pass of the season.
The Cavaliers’ best two penetrations into Hokies territory ended in a missed 41-yard field goal try just before halftime, and a comedy of errors in the fourth quarter. With the crowd exhorting the home team, Kurt Benkert drove them to the Hokies 30 and appeared to have hit Doni Dowling with a 16-yard pass. But a review overturned the call, and Dowling was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct after an incomplete pass on the following play for pushing a Virginia Tech player.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies aren’t asking Josh Jackson to do as much in the passing game as they did earlier in the season, and the return of Steven Peoples from injury and the emergence of Deshawn McClease seems to have eased the pressure on Jackson to be their most effective player. By avoiding throws into trouble, that get him into trouble, and relying on the players around him to make plays and the defense to shine, he gives Virginia Tech the chance for another 10-win season.
Virginia: The Cavaliers finished with 11 rushing yards on 20 attemots, and that put the onus on a marginal offensive line to give Benkert time to lead the offense against a defense that historically finds a way to make quarterbacks uncomfortable. Bwenkert was sacked four times and finished 17 for 34 for 186 yards.
The Hokies await their 25th consecutive bowl destination, the longest such streak in the country.
The Cavaliers await their first bowl destination since 2011.