Virginia Tech running back Trey Edmunds (14) breaks the tackle of Virginia cornerback Maurice Canady (26) on his way to a touchdown Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Trey Edmunds took a short pass 26 yards for a first-half touchdown, Eric Kristensen kicked three field goals and Virginia Tech beat Virginia for the 10th consecutive time, 16-6 on Saturday night.
The Hokies (8-4, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) learned before the game that their hopes of playing in the league championship game were dashed when Duke beat North Carolina 27-25 to win the Coastal Division, but they didn’t let it dampen their enthusiasm for beating the Cavaliers for the 14th time in 15 games.
The Cavaliers (2-10, 0-8) lost for the 18th time in their last 22 games overall dating to last season, and used the same recipe that has plagued them throughout. They forced two turnovers but scored no points off either, and squandered a late offensive series when Greyson Lambert threw an interception.
The Cavaliers forced 21 turnovers this season but scored just 13 points off the takeaways.
All the scoring came in the first half on a frigid day at Scott Stadium. With the Hokies’ ACC title shot gone and discontent among Virginia fans, the spectators’ enthusiasm waned as the game wore on.
Curious game management by Virginia late in the first half also caused some consternation.
Max Valles sacked Logan Thomas and forced a fumble late in the half, and Brent Urban recovered for Virginia at the Hokies’ 34. After Kevin Parks lost a yard, David Watford threw incomplete to Darius Jennings and Jake McGee. Then with just over a minute to play, Virginia opted to try to cash in on the turnover and go for it on fourth-and-11. Watford, however, badly overthrew E.J. Scott deep downfield.
The Hokies took over with 1:04 on the clock, and Thomas quickly hit Demitri Knowles for 15 yards to midfield, Kalvin Cline for 12 and Willie Byrn for 17 yards to the Cavaliers’ 26. After missing on two passes, Thomas hit Edmunds with a short dump pass, and the running back broke a tackle and scored the touchdown.
Parks did bust free for a 48-yard run with Virginia pinned deep in its own end in the fourth quarter, making him the first Cavaliers running back to go over 1,000 yards since Alvin Pearman in 2004, but on the next play, Lambert threw wide of Keeon Johnson and Kendall Fuller intercepted for the Hokies.
Lambert played the fourth quarter after Watford, who started every game this season, completed 13 of 23 passes for 122 yards in the first three quarters but twice saw drives inside the Hokies’ 20 stall, forcing field goal attempts. The Cavaliers never threatened to score the rest of the way.
Virginia Tech wasn’t much better. Thomas was sacked five times but, in what became a defensive struggle throughout the second half, the Hokies held the Cavs to 120 yards over the final two quarters, making the lead more than ample.
The game’s first four possessions all yielded field goals — of 22 and 30 yards by Kristensen for the Hokies, who got the ball first, and kicks of 36 and 29 yards by the Cavaliers’ Alex Vozenilek.
Virginia finally forced the first punt and drove to the Hokies’ 33, but after considering a long field goal, Virginia punted and the Hokies drove 67 yards to Kristensen’s go-ahead 38-yard field goal.
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