Football, Sports, WVU Sports

WVU builds big lead, holds on to beat No. 15 Virginia Tech 27-21

MORGANTOWN — Jarret Doege threw two touchdown passes, Leddie Brown rushed for 106 yards and a score and West Virginia survived No. 15 Virginia Tech’s furious rally from a 20-point deficit to beat the Hokies 27-21 on Saturday.

The Mountaineers (2-1) built a 27-7-point lead midway through the third quarter but saw that mostly evaporate behind Virginia Tech’s Braxton Burmeister before West Virginia saved the outcome on a goal-line stand.

“Winning is hard and we talked about it before the game,” coach Neal Brown said. “I thought this was going to be a defining moment for us, for this team and where we’re at.

“I’m worn out. I feel like I’ve played.”

Burmeister threw for two scores, including a 29-yard TD toss to Jalen Holston with 3:10 left. Virginia Tech got the ball back with 2:11 remaining on Jermaine Waller’s interception of Doege at the West Virginia 17, but Burmeister threw incomplete on fourth-and-goal from the 3 and the Mountaineers ran out the clock.

It was one of three Virginia Tech drives that stalled inside the West Virginia 10, with the Hokies coming away with no points.
Burmeister finished 18 of 30 for 207 yards.

“Our guys came back in the second half and really just kept fighting and scratching and clawing, and ultimately gave us the chance to win the game there,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said. “Our guys are pretty crushed. We’re all crushed.”

The Hokies (2-1) had allowed only three touchdowns in its first two games but gave up two quick scores to the Mountaineers, who couldn’t keep up the momentum after halftime.

West Virginia doesn’t have a reputation for fast drives but jumped ahead 14-0 less than 6 minutes into the game.

Brown, who had five touchdowns entering the game but had been limited to 104 rushing yards, went 80 yards up the middle for a score on West Virginia’s second play from scrimmage.

The Mountaineers needed only three plays on their next drive, which was helped by a hands-to-the-face call on Virginia Tech linebacker Keshon Artis. On the next play, Doege found Bryce Ford-Wheaton in the end zone into double coverage from 29 yards out.

After West Virginia extended the lead to 24-7 in the second quarter on Doege’s 16-yard TD throw to Sam James and a short field goal by Casey Legg, Raheem Blackshear returned a kickoff 78 yards to the West Virginia 22. But John Parker Romo missed a short field goal try just before halftime.

Burmeister overcame a sack to throw three straight completions at the end of the third quarter, and his 25-yard scramble on third down set up Raheem Blackshear’s 20-yard scoring run at the end of the third quarter to close the gap to 27-14.

Doege finished 15 of 26 for 193 yards and West Virginia outgained the Hokies 318-308.

The takeaway

Virginia Tech: In their first road game, the Hokies were staring at a double-digit deficit before the sellout crowd had settled in its seats and couldn’t capitalize on the many opportunities they had to score.

West Virginia: Despite a second-half fade, the Mountaineers took back the Black Diamond Trophy for the first time since 2003.