BLACKSBURG, Va. (HokieSports.com) – Despite another solid performance from quarterback Ryan Willis and a big game from receiver Damon Hazelton, Virginia Tech struggled to stop Notre Dame’s offense in the second half, falling to the No. 6 Irish 45-23 in a non-conference game played Saturday night at Lane Stadium.
With the loss, Tech fell to 3-2 overall, while the Irish moved to 6-0.
The Hokies trailed by just a point at halftime, 17-16, after Willis connected with Hazelton for a 3-yard touchdown with 12 seconds left in the first half. But Notre Dame made several big plays in the second half to pull away.
The Irish scored touchdowns on four of their first five possessions of the second half, including on their first two possessions the third quarter (a 97-yard touchdown run by Dexter Williams and a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ian Book to Miles Boykin). The latter score gave the Irish a 31-16 lead with 4:59 left in the third quarter.
Notre Dame all but sealed the game early in the fourth quarter when an 11-play, 64-yard drive ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Book to Boykin that gave the Irish a 38-16 lead with 9:08 remaining.
Tech cut into that lead when Willis threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Eric Kuman with 5:40 remaining, but Notre Dame answered with a 31-yard touchdown run by Williams to account for the final margin
Willis completed 31 of 52 for 309 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. Hazelton caught 12 passes for 131 yards and a score.
The Hokies finished with 441 yards of offense. Book completed 25 of 35 for 271 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception to pace an Irish offense that finished with 438 yards. Williams had 178 yards rushing.