BLACKSBURG, Va. — Hendon Hooker accounted for 311 yards of total offense and ran for a touchdown to help Virginia Tech beat No. 22 Wake Forest 36-17 on Saturday.
The Hokies (6-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) overcame a 10-6 halftime deficit, scoring 30 second-half points to beat a ranked team for the first time since last year at then-No. 22 Duke.
“It was fun to be a part of,” Tech coach Justin Fuente said. “I go back to this — I’m really proud of our kids. They just continue to battle and block out the noise and work hard and stick together, and it’s fun to get to see them reap some benefits.”
Deshawn McClease scored touchdowns on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter. His 6-yard touchdown run with 7:02 remaining in the quarter gave the Hokies a 20-17 lead — one they never would relinquish. He had 59 of the Hokies’ 228 yards rushing.
Hooker completed 15 of 23 for 242 yards and rushed for 69 yards. His 7-yard touchdown run with 4:38 remaining sealed it.
“Honestly, it (the first half) was me,” Hooker said. “It was my fault. I told the offense, ‘I take full responsibility in us not getting in the box (end zone).’ Just coming out, I told them, ‘You guys got my back. I got your back, so (let’s) make it happen.’”
Wake Forest (7-2, 3-2) struggled against Virginia Tech’s defense, finishing with season lows in yards (310) and points. Jamie Newman completed 16 of 35 passes for 238 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Kendall Hinton caught eight passes for 162 yards.
“They probably covered us the best a team has covered us all year,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. “We didn’t get a lot of separation. We were off in the passing game.”
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons are going to have to find a way to run better to keep their defense off the field — they finished with 63 yards rushing against the Hokies. Finding that running game won’t be easy next Saturday with a trip to unbeaten and No. 4 Clemson looming.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies control their destiny in the ACC’s Coastal Division race and need just one victory in their final three games to become bowl eligible for the 27th consecutive season. Two of their wins this season have come against FCS opponents, which means the Hokies need to get to seven victories to extend the nation’s longest active bowl streak.
Wake Forest: Host Clemson on Saturday.
Virginia Tech: At Georgia Tech on Saturday.