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Turnovers plagued the Hokies in Battle at Bristol loss

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BRISTOL, TN (WSLS 10 SPORTS) - On the largest stage in college football history, the Hokies showed that the event wasn't too big for the team or the program, but rather turnovers and the 17th ranked Tennessee Vols were the biggest issues. In front of a record 156,990 fans, the Hokies past gathered to celebrate the future, and that future looked bright early.

Justin Fuente's offense kept Tennessee off balance and Jerod Evans eventually found Sam Rogers for a seven yard touchdown catch to put the Hokies on the board first. Trevon McMillian had a 69 yard scoot and scamper that turned into a score and the Hokies had a 14-0 lead.

But the first fumble would be the look of this to come. It set Tennessee up in point blank range and the momentum has swung to the Vols. Tennessee would score 24 unanswered points to end the half in firm control of the festivities.

"We obviously got to do a better job of teaching or understanding or emphasizing ball security because were in adequate to say the least right now," said Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente.

"It's a mentality to not want that ball to come out of your hands and it's also an effort thing at practice we have to have hard practices on Tuesday and Wednesday, how mentality tough as a unit we are," said Evans.

After a Mook Reynolds interception the Hokies had a chance to get within seven in the fourth quarter but the drive ended on another fumble, the fifth of the game. Three would lead to touchdowns and the Vols would seal the deal from there

45-24 was the Battle at Bristol final.

"The turnovers and all that's part of the game, we stepped up at times made some big plays and at times the short fields did catch up to us," defensive coordinator Bud Foster explained after the loss.

The Hokies showed they have the talent to hang with a top 20 team if they can eliminate a bushel of mistakes. That should put them in the thick of the Coastal division race