Friday, February 23, 2018
Sports

Hokies show they belong in league elite

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The rain from Hurricane Matthew kept coming. So, too, did Virginia Tech's aggressive defense, along with an offense that kept chipping away through its own mistakes.

Consider it proof that the No. 25 Hokies are catching on to what their new coach is preaching.

Jerod Evans accounted for three touchdowns while the defense shut down No. 17 North Carolina in a 34-3 win Saturday played in heavy rain the hurricane brought as it made its trek north.

"What I do like is I do think they're good listeners," Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said. "I do think they're listening to our process."

Since a Week 2 loss to Tennessee, Virginia Tech has won three straight blowouts. This came against the reigning Coastal Division champions, who had beaten Pittsburgh and Florida State on last-second scores in the past two weeks.

Simply put, the Hokies were tougher than both the Tar Heels and the unfavorable conditions.

"We're tired of hearing about everybody else," Evans said. "We're tired of hearing about UNC, Miami, Clemson, Louisville, etc. Those are great teams, don't get me wrong. … But at the same time, we feel like we should be mentioned in those categories with those guys. So every week we have a statement we want to make."

Bud Foster's defense locked down on UNC's Mitch Trubisky, who entered as one of the nation's top passers. UNC finished with 131 yards, with Trubisky throwing his first two interceptions of the season.

N.C. STATE 10, N. DAME 3: Dexter Wright returned a blocked punt 16 yards for a touchdown with 12:43 left for the host Wolfpack in a game played on a waterlogged field after Hurricane Matthew.

Wright's go-ahead touchdown came after teammate Pharoah McKeever fought through a block from Nic Weishar up the middle to deflect Tyler Newsome's punt. All Wright had to do was scoop the ball — not an easy task on a day like this — and head for the end zone.

"This is a game to remember," McKeever said. "I'll probably remember it until the day I die. Raining, playing in a hurricane, not knowing if we were going to play or not. Lightning delay, in the locker room for 30 more minutes. … And then after the game, doing field slides in the mud. This was just something to remember."

The teams combined for five turnovers and lost four of 10 fumbles.

PITT 37, GA. TECH 34: Chris Blewitt hit a 31-yard field goal on the final play as the host Panthers rallied.

Pittsburgh trailed by a touchdown when the Yellow Jackets' J.J. Green raced in from 10 yards to give them their first lead with 5:22 left.

Pitt tied it when tight end Scott Orndoff caught a tipped pass and outran the defense for a 74-yard score. Georgia Tech opted to go for it on fourth down at its 34 with 2:25 left, but Dedrick Mills was stopped for no gain.

The Panthers drove to the Georgia Tech 12 to set up Blewitt's winner, which smacked off the right upright and through as time expired.

DUKE 13, ARMY 6: Daniel Jones and Parker Boehme each passed for a touchdown for the host Blue Devils. Duke took a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter, and its defense forced three turnovers and stifled the Black Knights' rushing attack to hold on.

WAKE 28, SYRACUSE 9: John Wolford ran for two touchdowns and threw for 140 yards to lead the host Demon Deacons. Wolford scored from the 7 and 37 in the second quarter.

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