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Virginia Tech erases 24-point deficit with 35 unanswered points to win Belk Bowl vs. Arkansas

Virginia Tech takes the Belk Bowl after an impressive 24-point comeback.

After trailing 24-0 at halftime against Arkansas, Virginia Tech has rallied scoring 35 unanswered points to win the Belk Bowl 35-24. Not sure what was said at halftime by head coach Justin Fuente, but whatever he said it lit a fire into the Hokies.

The Hokies forced four Arkansas turnovers in the second half, and rallied with five touchdown scoring drives. Quarterback Jerod Evans bounced back from his two turnovers in the first half to have his hands on four of the touchdowns. He finished with 243 passing yards and two touchdown passes. He added 87 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Wide receiver Cam Phillips was named the Belk Bowl MVP. He had six receptions for 115 yards.

The Hokies forced a fumble of Arkansas wide receiver Drew Morgan in the third quarter. That started the Razorbacks’ downfall. Evans scored on a four-yard touchdown run after completing back-to-back passes to Isaiah Ford. Then Anthony Shegog intercepted Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen that set up a tough one-handed touchdown grab by Hokies’ fullback Sam Rogers.

The Hokies were not finish completing their rally. Tremaine Edmunds intercepted Allen on Arkansas’ next offensive snap deep in the Razorbacks’ territory. Evans found tight end Chris Cunningham on the first play of the possession for a five-yard touchdown to give the Hokies two touchdowns in 18 seconds and closed their deficit to three at 24-21 late in the third quarter.

Virginia Tech completed their rally with their most impressive drive of the game, as they finished off a 10-play, 76-yard touchdown drive. Travis McMillan rushed for the final 27 yards on the drive, including a six-yard score to the Hokies ahead 28-24 with 12:03 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Evans sealed the victory with one-yard touchdown following Allen’s third interception. The Hokies defense sacked Allen six times.

The Hokies became the first team this season to overcome a 24-point halftime deficit, according to ESPN’s Zach Mariner. Prior to the Hokies’ comeback teams trailing by 24 points at halftime were 1-30 in bowl games over the last 10 years.

Virginia Tech improved to 10-4 on the season for its first 10-win season since 2011 and 14th in school history. The win also improves the Atlantic Coast Conference bowl record to 5-1 this season.



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