LOUISVILLE, Ky. – After suffering through arguably the worst game of his career in the Virginia Tech football team’s loss at Wake Forest, Hendon Hooker responded with arguably his best.
Hooker rushed for three touchdowns, and he completed 10 of 10 for 183 yards to lift the Hokies to a 42-35 victory over Louisville on Saturday in an ACC game played at Cardinals Stadium.
With the win, the Hokies moved to 4-2 overall, 4-2 in the ACC. Louisville fell to 2-5, 1-5 in league play.
Behind Hooker, the Hokies jumped all over the Cardinals right from the start, opening a 21-0 lead and then they scored on four consecutive possessions in the second half to pull away.
“Awfully proud of our guys – congratulations to our players and our staff,” Tech coach Justin Fuente said. “Great response today. It wasn’t always pretty, but we found a way to get the job done.”
Louisville – missing six defensive linemen for undisclosed reasons – cut Tech’s lead to 42-35 on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Malik Cunningham to Javian Hawkins with a minute left in the game. But the Hokies recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock for the victory.
Tech’s offense put together an impressive performance, amassing 466 yards in the game. Tech rushed for more than 200 yards for the sixth consecutive game, did not turn the ball over, and scored on all five of its red-zone opportunities.
Tech, which scored on seven of 11 possessions the game, started quickly, needing only five plays on its first possession – all runs – to get in the end zone. Hooker’s 6-yard touchdown run, and Brian Johnson’s extra point gave the Hokies a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
Hooker added two more touchdown runs on back-to-back possessions spanning the first and second quarters. A Devin Taylor interception led to Hooker’s 3-yard scoring run, and early in the second quarter – with the Hokies facing a fourth-and-goal from the 1 – Hooker scored to give the Hokies a 21-point lead.
Louisville scored the final 14 points of the first half to cut the lead to 21-14 at halftime, with the big play coming on a 90-yard run by Javian Hawkins on the final play of the half.
But Tech answered on the first possession of the second half, sparking a dominant second-half performance by the offense. A 63-yard drive ended with Tré Turner scoring on a 1-yard run, and Johnson’s extra point gave Tech a 28-14 lead with 11:15 left in the third quarter.
Herbert rushed for 147 yards on 21 carries for the Hokies, who rushed for 283 yards. Turner caught four passes for 71 yards.
Cunningham paced the Cardinals by throwing for a career-high 350 yards and three touchdowns, but was intercepted the three times.
More information is available at HokieSports.com.