BLACKSBURG — The national spotlight is once again on Virginia Tech as the No. 24 Hokies play host to sixth-ranked Notre Dame at Lane Stadium.
Seemingly back on track after winning at Duke last week, Virginia Tech looks to beat a ranked team at home for the first time since 2009.
I’ll be providing updates throughout the night right here.
Q4, 13:51: Brian Johnson’s 52-yard field goal attempt, once again, has the distance but is wide left. Hokies were in an odd spot, facing a fourth-and-7 from the 35. Suppose Fuente wanted to try and salvage some points on that drive. Time starting to run low for Virginia Tech.
End of third quarter: Notre Dame 31, Virginia Tech 16.
Q3, 2:00: It hasn’t been the best night for Virginia Tech’s offensive line. Ryan Willis has found himself running for his life seemingly every other play. Notre Dame defensive linemen living in the backfield tonight. They’re only credited with one QB hurry, but it sure feels like there have been plenty more.
Q3, 4:59: Ian Book scrambles out of the pocket and finds a wide-open Miles Boykin, who goes for a 40-yard touchdown. Book had went about 17 minutes of game time without a completion of 10 or more yards, then had one for 11 yards and the TD on that drive. Notre Dame leads 31-16. Hokies need to muster some points here.
Q3, 8:31: Brian Johnson’s 47-yard field goal attempt sails left. He crushed the thing — it had plenty of distance — but pushed it a little too far left. Hokies down 24-16.
Q3, 11:49: Dexter Williams takes the handoff in the end zone, with Notre Dame at its own 3. He ended in the other end zone with a 97-yard TD run. It’s the second-longest in school history, and the longest ever from scrimmage in Lane Stadium history. Huge hole on the left side for Williams to run through, and Notre Dame’s lead is now 24-16 on Virginia Tech.
Halftime: Notre Dame 17, Virginia Tech 16. Hokies out-gained the Fighting Irish 141-22 in the second quarter. After averaging 7.3 yards per play in the first quarter, Notre Dame averaged just 1.3 in the second. Ryan Willis is 15 of 26 for 139 yards. Ian Book is 15 of 23 for 163 yards after completing his first seven passes.
Q2, 0:12: Exactly the drive Virginia Tech could’ve dreamed for. The Hokies capitalize on some Fighting Irish penalties, and three straight completions to Hazelton lead them downfield. Ryan Willis hits Hazelton for a 3-yard TD pass, cutting Notre Dame’s lead to 17-16. The Fighting Irish also lost defensive end Julian Okwara for the game due to a targeting call on that drive.
Q2, 1:08: Scoop and score by Notre Dame’s Julian Love. Ryan Willis was rushed — there have been plenty of Irish defenders in the backfield tonight — and fumbled. That’s a 42-yard TD for Notre Dame, which now has a 17-9 lead on Virginia Tech. Not what you want right before halftime.
Q2, 3:21: Hokies squander a perfect opportunity to take the lead, but still manage some points on a 22-yard Brian Johnson field goal. Steven Peoples rushed for 41 yards to the Notre Dame 1, but the Hokies couldn’t get in the end zone. Peoples was stuffed on back-to-back plays, then it looked like there was some miscommunication between him and Willis on third down, and Willis was dropped for a loss. Notre Dame up 10-9.
Q2, 5:52: Reggie Floyd with his second interception in as many weeks, making a leaping grab to pick off Ian Book. Virginia Tech takes over at the Notre Dame 42.
Q2, 6:14: Kyle Chung is now playing center for Virginia Tech. He had practiced there a lot in the offseason, and it was a bit of a surprise he wasn’t there on the initial depth chart. Zachariah Hoyt, the Salem product who has been starting, had two snap infractions earlier.
Q2, 8:34: Virginia Tech’s radio broadcast says Caleb Farley is in a lot of pain with an ankle injury, but is going to try and tough it out. Something to watch in the secondary for the Hokies. Ian Book has thrown for 146 yards already.
Q2, 10:06: Hokies have to settle for another field goal. Ryan Willis was dropped for an 11-yard loss on first down after he hit Damon Hazelton for a 19-yard gain. Brian Johnson’s 43-yard attempt is good, and Notre Dame’s lead is down to 10-6.
Q2, 13:15: Virginia Tech burns a timeout. Justin Fuente is, to say the least, not happy with Ryan Willis.
Q2, 13:15: Big break for Virginia Tech. Bad snap on fourth down, and Houshun Gaines knocks the punter for a 16-yard loss. Hokies take over at the Notre Dame 43.
End of first quarter: Notre Dame 10, Virginia Tech 3
Q1, 0:53: Virginia Tech still manages some points on that drive. Brian Johnson with a 39-yard field goal to cut Notre Dame’s lead to 10-3.
Q1, 2:45: Hokies have what would’ve been a 49-yard trick play TD pass from Hezekiah Grimsley to Sean Savoy wiped out because of an ineligible receiver downfield. That’s a tough one to take. Would’ve been a huge score for Virginia Tech.
Q1, 6:58: Metallica wasn’t here tonight, but they recorded a special message to Virginia Tech fans before the playing of ‘Enter Sandman.’ Mike Niziolek wrote about that here. And you can watch video of the entrance here.
Q1, 6:58: The Fighting Irish tack a 31-yard field goal by Justin Yoon to their lead. A 56-yard pass from Ian Book to Chris Finke was the catalyst of that drive. Notre Dame leads, 10-0.
Q1, 9:24: Couple notes I missed while on the field. Divine Deablo is out for the Hokies tonight. That’s a big loss for the defense. Also, Mark Berman wrote about the unveiling of the Frank Beamer statue. You can read that here.
Q1, 9:24: Notre Dame jumps out to an early lead. Dexter Williams with the 1-yard rush to put the Irish in front 7-0. Ian Book was 7 of 7 for 58 yards passing on that drive, which spanned 12 plays and 75 yards.
Q1, 11:45: We’re underway here. I was on the field for ‘Enter Sandman,’ and was literally shaking. It’s loud here, and there’s very little green in the stands. Notre Dame driving.
7:40 p.m.: No need to rush and be in front of your TV right at 8. The clock on the scoreboard is at 40 minutes, so I imagine this will start closer to 8:20 p.m.
7 p.m.: A little bit of rain passed through earlier, probably just enough to annoy the hoards of tailgaters. Or, maybe it was the welcome break they needed. These night games do make for a long day of tailgating. Anyway, that’s pased, and it’s shaping up to be a beautiful night, as expected.
5:30 p.m.: Virginia Tech a little bit ago unveiled a statue of Frank Beamer at Moody Plaza outside Lane Stadium. It shows him with a headset on, play card in hand. Earlier, Virginia Tech announced it’s renamed the practice facility after Beamer and John Lawson. We’ll have a full story on the statue up online later.