ATLANTA — Virginia Tech hasn’t had many opportunities to get the backups in this season.
That changed in a big way when the Hokies starting emptying the bench with almost nine minutes left in the third quarter of a 45-0 win over Georgia Tech.
Virginia Tech’s first-team offense was pretty much done for the night after quarterback Hendon Hooker threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to James Mitchell with 10:14 left in the game. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster let his starters play a few more drives before starting to rotate them out of the game as well.
There was no drop off in play.
“I feel fortunate we were able to play a lot of people,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said. “We spent the better portion of the second half just trying to get the game over with. Saw some young guys go out there and compete a little bit, and that’s fun to be a part of when the starters do their job and we get some ample time to get those other guys in. We haven’t done it all year.”
Tech’s starters were vocal with their support with a large contingent of fans that made the trip down from Blacksburg right behind their sideline.
“I was rooting for them 100 percent,” Mtichell said. “Those guys bust their butts in practice whether they are on scout for some periods or twos or threes. Those guys are working hard.”
Virginia Tech backup quarterback Quincy Patterson orchestrated a 5-play, 87-yard drive in the third quarter that ended with him punching it in the end zone from 2-yards out. He completed a 64-yard pass to Keshawn King on the drive.
Running back Caleb Steward, who hasn’t carried the ball since Tech’s loss to Duke in September, had some nice runs late to help the Hokies run out the clock. He ended up with six carries for 40 yards. Patterson finished the game with nine carries for 40 yards.
The only blemish for the second team offense failing to score with a fresh set of downs at Georgia Tech’s 9-yard line.
“That’s an interesting situation to be in,” Fuente said. “Usually it’s much later in the game and you don’t throw the ball any. But we subbed early. We tried to continue to run our offense and defense and to have them execute was encouraging and rewarding for those guys, to get in there and get to operate a little bit and be efficient. It was a good sign.”
On defense, Tech got contributions from all over the place with the starters on the bench.
Defensive backs Armani Chatman and Brion Murray each had pass breakups. Linebacker Alan Tisdale had three tackles with two sacks and a pass breakup all in the second half. Dylan Rivers, Amare Barno, Dean Ferguson, Jeremy Webb and Josh Fuga all got some rare defensive reps as well.
“I like the development of our young players and how they continue to improve,” Foster said. “And they’ve got a lot of energy and a lot of juice.”