BLACKSBURG – Alex Barbir’s 51-yard field goal with 1 second remaining overshadowed a great game by Virginia Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker and propelled No. 25 Liberty to a 38-35 upset of the Hokies in a nonconference game Saturday at Lane Stadium.
With the loss, Tech fell to 4-3 overall. Liberty moved to 7-0 and extended its winning streak to eight consecutive games going back to last season.
Barbir’s kick punctuated a wild ending for the Flames, who rallied from a 20-14 halftime deficit and moved to 7-0 for the first time in program history.
Barbir had a 59-yard attempt blocked with 8 seconds left, and Tech’s Jermaine Waller returned it to the end zone for what appeared to be the game-winning score for the Hokies. But officials ruled that Virginia Tech had called a timeout before the attempt.
“I’ve always done this,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuentesaid. “I don’t believe in waiting till the last second to call a timeout in those situations because I don’t like ever letting the kicker a free swing at it. I hollered timeout, and I guess I waited too long. That’s what I told the team – it’s on me.”
Liberty then elected to go for it on fourth-and-6 from the Virginia Tech 41. Malik Willis found CJ Yarbrough for an 8-yard gain at the Virginia Tech 33 with 5 seconds left, allowing Barbir to come out for a shorter 51-yard attempt, which he drilled.
Hooker paced Virginia Tech, throwing for 217 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 156 yards and a touchdown. His 12-yard touchdown pass to Tré Turner with 52 seconds remaining tied the game at 35, setting up the wild ending. He also threw touchdown passes of 3 yards to Nick Gallo and 9 yards to Kaleb Smith.
Tech finished with 418 yards of offense.