AllNCAA Sports

Hokies Struggle To Bounce Back vs. Rutgers Losing 35-16 (9-16-23)

By: Joey Raymond

All Photo Courtesy: Virginia Tech Athletics

Piscataway, New Jersey–Heading into this game, the Scarlet Knights have yet to surrender a point in the first half in both of their first two games, allowing just 14 points total. Rutgers is seeking their third-straight 3-0 start since 1959 – 1961. On the Hokies side, they come into this one trying to snag their second win of the year. They lost a tough one to Purdue last week and won in dominating fashion against Old Dominion. Thankfully for both teams, the weather seems like it’ll hold up in this one, allowing for a beautiful day for college football.

First Quarter Recap:

The Scarlet Knights kicked it off to the Hokies to start the game, after Rutgers won the toss and chose to defer. Kyron Drones is the quarterback for the Hokies and fumbles the ball on the second play of the game. Rutgers takes advantage of the first offensive play they get of the game, taking the ball into the endzone on a 19-yard run from Monangai. Rutgers takes a quick 7-0 lead. The Hokies and Rutgers would both come up empty in their following drives. The Hokies would work the ball down to the 19-yard line in their next drive but would get to fourth down and attempt a field goal. Love would then miss wide right, keeping the score at 7-0. Rutgers and Virginia Tech would ultimately not score again in the first. The quarter would end with the Hokies driving.

Second Quarter Recap:

Virginia Tech starts the quarter with the ball on the Virginia Tech 39-yard line. The Hokies, on the back of Kyron Drones, do drive down and make it to the red zone. However, they get themselves to fourth down, not able to get into the endzone. This time on the field goal attempt is true, as Love drills it, bringing the score to 7-3. Rutgers would then drive the length of the field, on a 4-play, 75-yard drive, culminating in a touchdown. The touchdown came off of a 34-yard touchdown run from Gavin Wimsatt, the Rutgers quarterback, giving them a 14-3 lead. Kyron Drones would then throw an interception, giving Rutgers the ball back almost immediately. Thankfully for the Hokies, it wouldn’t come back to bite them as the Scarlet Knights are forced to punt on the drive. Rutgers would go on a long drive before the half ends. This culminates in an 8-play, 49-yard, touchdown drive. This gives Rutgers a 21 to 2 lead after the extra point. This is shaping up to be all Rutgers, something I don’t think anyone predicted.

Third Quarter Recap:

Rutgers does receive the second-half kick-off, after deferring during the coin toss. Rutgers would ultimately get nothing out of the first drive, going three and out on the first drive of the half. The Hokies would try to get some momentum on their drive, letting Kyron Drones throw a deep ball but it fell incomplete. The drive ended shortly after, with the Hokies punting the ball away. More of the same would continue for both teams as Rutgers and Virginia Tech until Virginia Tech got the ball with roughly 5:42 left on the clock. The Hokies take the ball on a 5-play drive, culminating in a 39-yard touchdown pass from Drones to Felton. This brings the score to 21-10 after the extra point. The Hokies are trying to make a comeback. Rutgers would have to punt on their following drive, which Tucker Holloway took back 25 yards. Virginia Tech would take the momentum off of the return and start driving. They get into the red zone and go all the way down to the 2-yard line before the clock hits all zeros and the quarter ends.

Fourth Quarter Recap:

​The Hokies continue the drive and get into the end zone on a run from Tuten. The Hokies do go for two but do not convert, leaving the score at 21-16 with Rutgers still leading. Rutgers gets the ball, runs a couple of plays, and then hands it to Monangai who takes it 55 yards into the end zone, furthering the Scarlet Knight lead 28-16. Virginia Tech takes a turn with the ball and on a drive that starts hot, gets blown up halfway through. The Hokies go for it on a fourth down play, but still can’t convert. Rutgers will get the ball back on the 46-yard line. Rutgers uses the momentum and marches down close to the red zone fairly quickly, making it to the 22-yard line on three plays. Rutgers continues to work, finding their way into the endzone, bringing the score to 34-16. The Hokies continue to get manhandled as Rutgers starts to run away with this game. The Hokies go three and out on their next drive, virtually sealing it for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers runs the clock out and seals the win. Their first win against the Hokies since 1992, when the Knights beat the Hokies 50-49.

What’s Next?

​The Hokies will head back to Blacksburg licking their wounds after this one. They’ll head to West Virginia next week to face off against the Marshall Thundering Herd. For a program with so much promise coming into this season, they have fallen off the wagon early in this season. The Hokies do have a bright light in the sense that Kyron Drones played pretty well all things considered, after he settled in and was able to start making plays. The Scarlet Knights truly dominated in this game, they’re better than a lot of people give them credit for, myself included. They ran away with this one at the end and truly never looked back. Rutgers heads on to Ann Arbor next week to face a massive challenge. The big and mighty number two ranked Michigan Wolverines. That’ll be a closer game than I think most people will predict, especially if that Rutgers defense plays like they did today.