BLACKSBURG, Va. – Hendon Hooker threw for 153 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 25 Virginia Tech to a 28-0 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Hooker threw touchdown passes to Tré Turner and Damon Hazelton, and Virginia Tech’s defense scored on a fumble return, as the Hokies (8-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) notched their sixth win in their past seven games.
The Virginia Tech win sets up a showdown next weekend with rival Virginia, with the victor claiming the ACC’s Coastal Division and an ACC championship game berth on Dec. 7.
Pittsburgh (7-4, 4-3 ACC) finished with a season-low 177 yards. Kenny Pickett completed 10 of 26 passes for 103 yards.
Hooker’s 71-yard pass to Tayvion Robinson led to James Mitchell’s 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, giving the Hokies a 7-0 lead. Moments later, Norell Pollard returned a Pickett fumble 7 yards for a touchdown that pushed the lead to 14.
Virginia Tech essentially put the game away with Hooker’s 3-yard touchdown to Turner with 45 seconds left in the first half. Hooker completed 10 of 13 passes in moving to 6-0 as the starting quarterback.
Pittsburgh: Poor execution and especially penalties hurt Pittsburgh’s offense, as the Panthers were flagged for two false starts and two illegal formations, and a third-quarter holding penalty negated a first-and-goal at the Virginia Tech 8 - a drive that ended with a punt. Pittsburgh got into Tech territory just three times on 13 possessions.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies, who looked dead after a 0-2 start to ACC play, have played much better defense of late - a big part of their resurgence. Virginia Tech hasn’t allowed more than 301 total yards or more than 63 yards rushing in each of its past three games, and its back-to-back shutouts are the unit’s first since 2005.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers play Boston College at home Saturday.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies play at rival Virginia on Friday.