Virginia Tech drops third straight to Clemson

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Virginia Tech drops third straight to Clemson

 CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- Tajh Boyd ran for two touchdowns and passed for another and Jonathan Meeks had a 74-yard interception return score as No. 14 Clemson won its third straight over Virginia Tech, 38-17, on Saturday.

Andre Ellington had a 12-yard touchdown run and 96 yards for the Tigers (6-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who relied on their much-maligned defense to bail them out of this one.

Clemson finished with three interceptions and twice stopped fourth downs to end drives by the Hokies (4-4, 2-2). Logan Thomas passed for 207 yards and ran for 99, accounting for two Virginia Tech touchdowns. He was continually harassed by the Tigers and threw two picks.

Boyd was 12 of 21 for 160 yards, 131 fewer than he averaged coming in.

Clemson tied a school record with its 11th straight home victory, something it had done twice before from 1937-42 and 1989-91. To match the mark this time, the Tigers had to count on their usually unreliable defense as their high-flying offense was largely grounded.

The Hokies put up 406 yards, but that's still under the 445 a game Clemson had been allowing. Tigers defenders turned the tide early, halting Michael Holmes on third and fourth downs in the opening quarter to end the Hokies' 15-play drive on Clemson's 18.

Instead of trailing 14-0, Clemson began its comeback with Chandler Catanzaro's 27-yard field goal -- his 20th straight made kick since last season.

Meeks got the first of his two interceptions on Virginia Tech's next series, grabbing Thomas' sailing pass right before going out of bounds. The Hokies gave Clemson even more help on the drive, a short punt bouncing off a Virginia Tech player that Tony Steward recovered as the Tigers kept the ball. Boyd put them ahead for good moments later with a leaping, 1-yard TD.

Two series later, Meeks was at it again, this time, swiping Thomas' pass in the open field and running 74 yards for the score.

Clemson's attack finally got going after halftime. Ellington's touchdown run ended a 52-yard drive before Boyd hit DeAndre Hopkins with a 37-yard scoring pass the next time Clemson had the ball to go up 31-10.

Clemson ended with 295 yards on offense, its lowest output this season. Boyd was sacked five times after Clemson had allowed 10 its first six games. All-American receiver Sammy Watkins had eight catches for 84 yards.

Virginia Tech had entered this one stung by last year's failures against the Tigers. After dominating Clemson for more than decade, the Hokies were overrun in two games last year, including a 38-10 loss in the ACC title game.

So Virginia Tech came out fast on both sides of the ball.

The Hokies sacked Boyd twice to force a punt, then Thomas led a no-huddle attack that caught the Tigers' D napping. The 6-foot-6 quarterback converted a fourth-and-2, and then found Corey Fuller open in the middle of the field for a 29 yard touchdown.

Michael Cole got perhaps the easiest interception of his career -- a tipped pass fell into his hands as he lie on his back on the ground -- on Clemson's next sequence and Thomas had the Hokies on the move again until they were stopped on downs by the Tigers.

The Hokies got a 40-yard field goal by Cody Journall right before halftime to trail 17-10 at the break. Virginia Tech gave up just 137 yards to Clemson's potent offense in the first two quarters -- the Tigers came in second in the ACC at more than 525 yards of offense a game -- but struggled to get past the Hokies' D.

Clemson celebrated Military Appreciation Day and had walk-on receiver Daniel Rodriguez, U.S. Army veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, lead the team's charge down the hill into the stadium carrying the American flag to loud cheers. Rodriguez was also an honorary captain against Virginia Tech, the team he grew up following.  

Juco transfer named Hokies' starting quarterback for opener

Juco transfer named Hokies' starting quarterback for opener

In his first game with the Virginia Tech Hokies, Jerod Evans will be leading the team as the starting quarterback, head coach Justin Fuente announced on Thursday. The quarterback competition started as a two-man race between Evans and fifth-year senior Brenden Motley before a late surge by true freshman Josh Jackson turned it into a three-way battle. In the end, however, the decision was no surprise.

Evans, a junior transfer, began his college career at Air Force in 2013. He transferred to Trinity Valley Community College where he developed into a dynamic talent. In 2015, Evans threw for 395.5 yards per game and 38 touchdowns in just eight games before a wrist injury ended his season.

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Rated as the No. 1 dual-threat JUCO quarterback in the country, Evans was recruited by Fuente while he was still at Memphis and chose to follow the head coach to Blacksburg.

New coaches are rarely afforded the opportunity of starting their own recruit in their first season at a new school. Given that and the high potential of Evans as a playmaker, it was ultimately no surprise to hear Fuente peg him as the starter.

The announcement came with one caveat, however. Evans was named the starter specifically for the opener against Liberty, but not beyond that. Granted, Evans would have to play pretty poorly to force Fuente into switching starters the week before the Battle at Bristol against Tennessee, but an opener against an FCS team should allow for Fuente to play multiple quarterbacks. If Motley outplays Evans, perhaps it could reignite the quarterback battle.

Even so, Thursday's announcement shows the starting job is now Evans to lose.

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Virginia names ECU transfer their starting quarterback

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USA TODAY Sports

Virginia names ECU transfer their starting quarterback

When Virginia opens the season on Sept. 3 against Richmond, they will have a new quarterback starting under center. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall named junior transfer Kurt Benkert the starting quarterback on Wednesday morning over seniors Matt Johns and Connor Brewer, according to multiple reports.

Benkert was expected to start for ECU just last season, but a knee injury in preseason forced him to miss the entire year. He is considered the most mobile of the three, which given Mendenhall's history with dual-threat quarterbacks, likely was a major factor in the head coach's decision.

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As a junior, Benkert was the only candidate with two years of eligibility remaining, a prospect hat reportedly "intrigued" Mendenhall. If Benkert is able to hold on to the position and start next season as well, it would represent a measure of stability Virginia has not known for quite some time.

What likely helped Benkert was the fact that his head coach at ECU, Ruffin McNeill, is now an assistant as UVa. By coming into a school with an offensive system Benkert was familiar with, it eliminated the learning curve most transfers go through with their new teams.

Benkert will replace Johns who was the team's starter last season and co-starter the season before. The fact that the competition was a three-man race at this point in the summer despite Johns' experience was a clear indication that his ability to win back the starting job was in clear jeopardy.

In addition, Mendenhall also announced Johns and Brewer were still competing for the backup role.

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Virginia Tech reveals uniforms for Battle at Bristol game vs. Tennessee

Virginia Tech reveals uniforms for Battle at Bristol game vs. Tennessee

A big-time game deserves a big-time uniform.

Virginia Tech delivered on that claim aturday as they revealed their look for the upcoming Battle at Bristol game vs. Tennessee.

The Sept. 20 non-conference game between the border rivals will be played in the infield of Bristol International Speedway in is what expected to be the largest crowd in college football history.

The official reveal was made via a video posted on YouTube:

Other views of the uniforms were also posted on Twitter:

The famous Hokie Stone was the inspiration for the look. The Hokies Stone is a type of rock found in Western Virginia almost exclusively in a nearby quarry owned by the school. It has become an iconic symbol of the school as several building on campus were built from the stone. Players will tap a Hokie Stone that hangs over the tunnel as they enter Lane Stadium during the football season.

The uniform's primary color scheme of black and grey pays homage to the team's history as those were the official colors of Virginia Tech before the school adopted the classic burnt orange and Chicago maroon we recognize today. The color grey was also chosen because it is a prominent color of the Corps of Cadets, according to a statement on the school's athletics website.

And boy do they look sharp. What do you think? Be sure to let us know!

The Battle at Bristol against Tennessee will take place on Sept. 10 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

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