Perkins, late FG lift Virginia past No. 23 Hokies, 39-30

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Virginia Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker, bottom is sacked by Virginia linebacker Noah Taylor (14) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Charlottesville, Va., Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Even with a nine-point lead and less than a minute on the clock, Bryce Perkins was not ready to celebrate Virginia finally breaking its Commonwealth Cup drought.

It was only a year ago, in his first experience with Virginia’s annual rivalry game against Virginia Tech, Perkins botched a handoff in overtime that allowed the Hokies to extend their dominance in the series after a wild finish.

“I needed to see zeroes because I remembered last year,” Perkins said Friday after Virginia ended a 15-game losing streak to the 23rd-ranked Hokies and earned its first trip to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, with a 39-30 victory.

Perkins was a huge part of why the Cavaliers (9-3, 6-2) won, putting up 475 yards of offense. Brian Delaney kicked a go-ahead 48-yard field with 1:23 left in the fourth quarter and Virginia sealed it with a defensive score, causing fans to spill onto the field in a wild celebration.

“I was the last play that ultimately ended up losing us the game. I had to sit with that all year and it hurt, so this game I really wanted to go out there and be aggressive and just give everything I could for the team and not to let them down again,” Perkins said.

Perkins ran for two long touchdowns and passed for another for the Cavaliers (9-3, 6-2), who became the seventh different winner in as many years to win the Coastal Division. Delaney also kicked a 25-yard field goal for Virginia, and his last kick made up for a missed extra point early.

“How fitting after a missed extra point early that I thought was going to haunt us,” Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall said.

Hendon Hooker ran for one touchdown and threw for another for the Hokies (8-4, 5-3), who came in having won six of seven games to surge into championship contention. A rallying defense and Hooker’s steady play drove the surge, but both came up short against Virginia.