CHARLOTTESVILE, Va. (AP) — Braxton Burmeister threw for one touchdown, caught a pass for another and Virginia Tech ran for 320 yards Saturday night and beat Virginia 29-24.
Burmeister, who also ran for 115 yards, hit Tayvion Robinson for a 61-yard touchdown and caught a 3-yard pass from Robinson on a double-reverse as the Hokies (6-6, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) won for the 17th time in the last 18 meetings. They also achieved bowl eligibility for the 28th time in 29 years.
Virginia (6-6, 4-4), limited to three second-half points, drove to the Virginia Tech 9 after recovering a fumble with just over 3 minutes left, but Brennan Armstrong’s pass to Ra’Shaun Henry in the end zone on fourth-and 13 from the 14 with 35 seconds left fell incomplete, capping a wild final few minutes.
When it was over, Hokies fans stormed the field, surrounding their team.
Raheem Blackshear lead the Hokies ground attack with 169 yards on 18 carries, including a 50-yarder, and Burmeister got his on just 12, including a 71-yard burst. The Hokies had three plays that covered at least 50 yards.
Oddly, in a game where both teams approached 500 yards of offense, Burmeister was stopped at the 3 on his long run and the Hokies failed to score, backup quarterback Connor Blumrick’s fourth-down pass falling incomplete.
Armstrong had a strong first half, throwing for one touchdown and running for two more, but the Hokies defense limited Virginia to 172 yards after allowing 302 before halftime. Virginia Tech also recovered a fumble deep in its own territory and turned it into a field goal that tied the game at 24 with 9:31 left.
The ending was up in the air until the final minute when Armstrong’s pass fell incomplete. He earlier lost the ball on a fourth down scramble, the ball rolling into the Virginia end zone where offensive lineman Bobby Haskins recovered, giving the Hokies a safety and the ball. Three plays later, Hokies quarterback Connor Blumrick was stripped by Nick Grant and Olasunkonmi Agunloye recovered for Virginia at the Cavaliers’ 36, setting up the final fruitless drive.
Burmeister was 6 of 14 for 141 yards. Armstrong finished 30 of 46 for 400 yards, but completed only four of his last 12 attempts.
The Cavaliers had four first-half possessions and three ended in touchdowns. The only one that didn’t ended at Hokies’ 38 on Tae Daley’s interception. That led to an 18-yard scoring run by Blackshear that tied the game at 14.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies’ maligned defense bailed them out on Daley’s interception of a rare terrible throw by Armstrong with Virginia driving for a two-score lead in the second quarter, and by stiffening in the second half. But two defenders shied away from engaging with Jelani Woods on a TD catch and run and two more were run over by Armstrong on his second scoring run.
Virginia: Armstrong’s efficiency and the Cavaliers offense have allowed them to get away with a very suspect defense all season, and untimely penalties have hurt mightily too. After West Weeks sacked Burmeister for minus 14 yards, setting up a fourth-and-22 for the Hokies from their 13, Weeks ran into punter Peter Moore on the next play, giving the Hokies a first down on a drive that ended in a field goal on the final play of the first half.
Both teams will await bowl invitations.