Commonwealth constant: Virginia Tech tops Virginia for 15th straight time

Posted at 7:28 PM, Nov 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-24 01:04:17-05

Quarterback Ryan Willis of the Virginia Tech Hokies celebrates with the Commonwealth Cup. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

BLACKSBURG, Va. - It's a Commonwealth Cup carbon copy.

For the 15th straight year, Virginia Tech tops its rival, UVA (7-and-5), in the Commonwealth Cup - the longest streak in a rivalry game in major college football.

Virginia Tech kicker Brian Johnson made a 42-yard field goal in overtime, and the Hokies' Emmanuel Belmar recovered a fumble on Virginia's ensuing possession, all of which gave the Hokies a 34-31 victory over rival Virginia in a Commonwealth Clash game played Saturday evening at Lane Stadium.

With the win, the Hokies moved to 5-and-6 overall, 4-4 in ACC play, while the Cavaliers fell to 7-5 overall, 4-4 in league action.

Olamide Zaccheaus of the Virginia Cavaliers is hit by defensive back Divine Deablo. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

Tech appeared to be on the ropes after Virginia kicker Brian Delaney made a 28-yard field goal with 2:41 remaining in regulation to give the Cavaliers a 31-24 lead. But the Hokies made several big plays in the final 2:30 of regulation and overtime.

The biggest came on third-and-10 from the Tech 25 when quarterback Ryan Willis connected with tight end Dalton Keene for a 45-yard gain to the Virginia 30. Two plays later, the Hokies tied the game at 31 when Hezekiah Grimsley recovered a Steven Peoples fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point tied the game at 31 with 1:51 left.

Neither team scored on their final possessions, thus sending the game into overtime for the first time in the 100 games of the series.

Tech got the ball first and settled for Johnson's 42-yard field goal to take a 34-31 lead – but only after Willis somehow avoided a sack by Virginia's Charles Snowden. On the Cavaliers' possession, Bryce Perkins completed an 11-yard pass to Hasise Dubois on the first play, but on the next play, Perkins botched an exchange with tailback Jordan Ellis, and the Hokies' Belmar recovered to give Tech the win.

Quarterback Ryan Willis of the Virginia Tech Hokies celebrates with the Commonwealth Cup. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

The win ensures Tech will have a chance to extend the nation's longest active bowl game streak (25 straight). The Hokies host Marshall next Saturday. VT will earn a bowl berth with a victory vs. the Thundering Herd. Virginia will wait on its bowl game selection, which will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 2.

UVA trailed 14-0 at the half, but fought back with two touchdowns in the third quarter to cut the Virginia Tech lead to 17-14. Virginia Tech scored a touchdown to begin the fourth quarter. UVA responded with a 12-yard Jordan Ellis rush for a touchdown, then took the lead on a 29-yard touchdown pass from QB Bryce Perkins to Hasise Dubois. UVA made it 31-24 with a field goal with 2:41 to play.

Late in the second quarter, Virginia Tech broke a scoreless tie when freshman Tre Turner caught a seven yard touchdown pass from Ryan Willis. Just more than one minute later, Turner blocked a UVA punt that was recovered in the end zone by Hampton High School alumnus Jovonn Quillen to put the Hokies ahead by two touchdowns at the break.