Virginia Tech Honors Bud Foster With 36-17 Win Over Wake Forest

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Bud Foster Virginia Tech.
Bud Foster got a ride off the field after Virginia Tech’s 36-17 win over No. 19 Wake Forest. (Ivan Morozov)

Despite all the accolades, despite the newly unveiled Bud Foster banner with the lunch pail inside Lane Stadium, and despite becoming a legend in the town where he arrived 33 years ago, Bud Foster is still as humble as they come.

During his entire career he’s deflected attention away from himself and given credit to his players for all that he’s been able to accomplish. 

That’s why it was all the more fitting when Foster was lifted and carried on the shoulders of those players onto the field after Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2 ACC) defeated No. 19 Wake Forest 36-17 on the day where Foster was honored for over three decades of excellence.

“Today they recognized me and honored me, but in a lot of ways it was an honor to those guys who played,” Foster said. “They’re the ones who made the commitment, helped create the brand and the culture and the standard. Today made it very, very special.

“I’ve put a lot of heart and soul into this thing. It’s kind of bittersweet. I’ve had a great run. We’ve done some really special things and to know that it’s slowly coming to an end… It was a dream come true and I’m just so appreciative and thankful. I’m proud, but also it was an emotional time.”

Foster was honored pregame and joined midfield with his family, Frank Beamer, Whit Babcock, and Justin Fuente. The former Broyles Award winner was moved by the celebration and the stands filled with ‘This One’s For Bud’ streamers, but there was still a game to be played. A game that Virginia Tech controlled from the opening snap.

“That’s pretty much what we broke out every time we went on the field,” said free safety Divine Deablo, who led the Hokies with nine tackles. “We said, ‘Do it for Bud.’ It’s something we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives.”

It was a classic performance by a Bud Foster-led unit. Wake Forest entered the game averaging 510.6 yards per game, a number good for No. 7 in the nation. The Hokies held them just 301 yards. Wake had been averaging over 85 plays per game. Virginia Tech let them run just 65 plays. The Demon Deacons were averaging 38.0 points per game. Foster and Co. allowed just 17 points, Wake’s lowest output this season.

“That meant a ton,” linebacker Dax Hollifield said. “That’s the greatest defensive coach ever. To send him out on his day here was pretty special for everyone on defense.”

It was a particularly special day for Hollifield, someone who, as one of Foster’s prized recruits, dedicated this season to him. Hollifield sealed the deal on an interception with 4:41 remaining that fell into his hands after defensive end TyJuan Garbutt hit Wake’s quarterback Jamie Newman on the release, popping the ball high into the air. 

“I just didn’t want to drop the thing,” said Hollifield, who finished with six tackles and two quarterback hurries. “I swear the ball was in the air forever.”

Hendon Hooker Virginia Tech
Hendon Hooker rumbles in with Virginia Tech’s final touchdown from 7 yards out. (Ivan Morozov)

On the very next play, Hendon Hooker took the carry straight up the gut for a 7-yard touchdown to bring it to the final score of 36-17. Later when the Hokies entered victory formation, Hollifield and Foster shared a moment on the sideline.

“He told me, ‘You’re going to lead this place back to where it was.’ He’s the reason I’m here,” Hollifield said. “I know he loves me with all his heart.” 

Hollifield’s pick was the second turnover forced in the second half when Virginia Tech ramped up its pressure and rushed five or six players on a number of occasions. 

After Deshawn McClease scampered into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown in the middle of the third quarter to give Virginia Tech a 20-17 lead, a lead it would never relinquish, defensive tackle DaShawn Crawford found his moment on the first play of Wake’s ensuing drive. Foster brought all the linebackers on a blitz, and Crawford faked a rush before dropping back into coverage. Newman never saw him, and Crawford picked off the pass, rumbling forward for a 6-yard return.

“It’s almost as good as a fat man touchdown,” Fuente said with a grin.

“I thought I was going to score,” Crawford added with a laugh of his own.

The Virginia Tech defense limited Jamie Newman to 234 yards of total offense. (Ivan Morozov)

Newman came into the game No. 7 across the country with 337.7 yards of total offense per game. On Saturday, he was limited to 16-of-35 passing for 238 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The junior finished with 12 carries for minus-four yards rushing.

“I’m really proud of the kids after they came back after a real gut wrenching, tough loss from a week ago,” Foster said. “They showed a lot of perseverance in their approach all week. 

“The quarterback just never got in a rhythm… We were able to get decent pressure on the quarterback. We created a couple plays, and then we were able to get off the field on third down. We were able to get them off-kilter a little bit, off-balanced.”

The defense was aided by an offensive game plan that was executed to perfection. It was a game plan that called for Virginia Tech to control the clock and limit Wake Forest’s possessions through long, sustained drives.

That was certainly accomplished as the Hokies won the time of possession battle 36:09 to 23:51. On the first possession of the game, Hendon Hooker and Co. engineered a 19-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a field goal, but wasted 9:27 off the game clock.

“It was a part of the deal, a concerted effort,” Fuente said. “The offense is going to have to play a little bit of keepaway. That doesn’t mean run the ball into the line of scrimmage every play. It was really important that offensively you convert on third downs and keep plays going. Maybe go for it on fourth down to keep possession of the ball. It’s harder for them to score obviously if they don’t have the ball.

“The very first drive of the game, we couldn’t have scripted it any better, trying to take away the whole first quarter. To only get three points there after the dropped snap was a little disappointing, but we found our rhythm there.”

Virginia Tech’s ground game established a pulse on the game with 48 attempts for 228 yards (4.8 average). Wide receiver Tre Turner was the leading rusher with 73 yards on four carries, including a big 57-yarder on a jet sweep. His runs on the perimeter set the table for McClease and Hooker who combined for 128 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end James Mitchell even got in on the action with a 1-yard touchdown run that extended the lead to 29-17 with 11:44 left in the fourth.

“It helps you play defense,” Fuente said. “Running the football, the clock running, taking less snaps defensively, finding a way to take pressure off the quarterback. It’s very difficult to go throw the ball 50 times a game and not turn it over. I think a good running game helps everybody.”

Deshawn McClease Virginia Tech
Deshawn McClease had 59 yards rushing and two touchdowns for the Hokies. (Ivan Morozov)

Hooker passed the ball just 23 times, completing 15 of those passes for 242 yards. The Hokies are now 4-0 when the Greensboro native starts.

“The one reason why we all start clicking whenever Hendon is rolling is because Hendon has a swagger to him that not a lot of people have,” Turner said. “He’s communicating with everyone on the o-line, running backs, tight ends, wideouts. We’re all comfortable with him when he gets in a groove. When he gets in a groove we all know we have to step our game up.”

Could anyone have predicted that Virginia Tech would rattle off four wins and be 29 seconds away from five consecutive wins since the 45-10 debacle at home against Duke? Now, the Hokies control their destiny in the Coastal and just beat a ranked team at home for the first time since versus Miami in 2009.

“We use the term A.D.: After Duke,” Foster said. “We have really made an approach to come out and our work ethic and our practice habits are really focused on us and not anyone else. I really like the direction we’re going.”

It’s a direction that’s inspired newfound hope in the program. A direction that came to fruition on the day where Bud Foster flashed another bit of his brilliance.

“You couldn’t write a script any better in terms of honoring coach Foster and his contributions to Virginia Tech and this program,” Fuente said. “The kids on both sides of the ball played their hearts out.”

— hokiesports.com box score —

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40 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Best overall game in the past two years easy!! Defense seems to have really turned a corner lately giving up only 21 and 17 the last two weeks which has made a huge difference. Offense was clicking in run game and completed passes when needed, play calling was innovative and executed well (TE screen and RB route over the middle were absolute things of beauty!), and best yet…it was sustained for 60 mins on both sides of the ball. I’ve been critical of coaching staff a lot this year but after the last two weeks they seem to have this program headed in the direction we all want it to go and get back to a place where people fear coming to Lane. Gotta keep it going though, can’t rest on their morals now! Go Tech, 1-0 for GT week!

  2. MY thoughts before game time was if we can control clock & defense plays like old Bud D, we had a chance. The D played GREAT for BUD & offense played pretty consistent. So happy D played to their potential for BUD as I will miss his approach & hope new DC brings same smarts & toughness as I celebrate good defensive plays as much as TDs. Hope the team can play like this for the final three & win coastal. GO HOKIES!

  3. “ rushed five or six players on a number of occasions” … more of this please … good to see Bud ease up on the 3 down lineman prevent d

    1. Agree, I wondered if he didn’t think Newman could hurt us with a big play on a blitz where last week he was afraid Book might.

    1. Yep. Looks like it to me. Fire Fuente, Bud has packed it in, fire the entire staff. I do feel based on what has been said over the last four or five weeks. Some changes are coming besides the defensive side. But we will have to wait and see.

  4. Great game. Great atmosphere. Game reminded me of Tech teams from years ago.
    I’m still puzzled and frustrated though by our inability to stop teams on 3rd and long. Anyone got any theories on this? It’s been a problem all year.

    1. Yes, we lack a consistent pass rush from our front 4. We have got to improve the play of our DEs moving forward. I expect with such a young team, just like we got a commitment from A JUCO RB we will go hard after JUCO DEs and grad transfers DEs that are ready to play. With 1-2 DEs delivering what we need up front I’m thinking our entire defense will make another jump forward.

  5. All phases of our game clicked – D was exceptional, O with HH ran very well against a mediocre D, FG’s were GOOD, punts were great as always, returns got better with TR and KK in there – cant contain speed – difference maker. Best call of the game was Buds Blitz and drop Crawford – perfect call that started the 2nd half snowball!

    Way to go Hokies – BEAT GT!

  6. Great strategy and execution by the team, coaches included. I am so happy for these young men and the resilience they are demonstrating. However, I didn’t think we ‘wasted 9:27’ on the first drive; I saw it more as strategic execution and it worked fantastically. We wore their D out, rested ours and didn’t let them get momentum. I believe the $175k to Kill may be some of the best money the VT atheletic department has spent in a long time. What a way to send Bud on to his next chapter! Thanks for the memories Bud Foster. Now let’s make a few more.

    1. I thought the same thing about Coach Kill………..maybe it’s partly him and maybe it’s not but perception is reality and he gets the benefit!

      1. Kill deserves credit but he’s been here less than a full year even counting the time he was with Fuente in the summer. Fuente, Bud, Cornelson, etc, have been building this “cake” for four years – Kill may be the “icing”.

        1. Why does Kill get the credit? I have no reason to believe he hasn’t made a positive impact,,,but you can’t tell me HH is playing great because Kill is on the sideline watching. The D is playing a lot better and there’s no reason to think that’s because Kill is on the sideline. Some day I’d like to hear from the coaching staff and the players exactly what Kill is doing or has done to help the team get better but I gotta say IF this is mostly due to Kill – and I don’t believe for a second it is – then HE should be the guy making $4 million and CJF should be HIS assistant.

        2. I believe there was some tweaking needed and the objectivity of an outside perspective was just the thing. Not discrediting anyone, but some things just blend in after a while and a fresh perspective can be very insightful.

    2. In the context Cory was writing it in, I don’t think he meant the time was “wasted” in any negative way, but rather was giving credit for the drive’s having _consumed_ 9 and a half minutes that WF wasn’t going to be able to get back. Perhaps “wasted” wasn’t the ideal word he might have chosen (since it sounds negative), but I’d say he was indeed speaking positively of the drive in terms of the “strategic execution” you cite. (There was talk before the game, given Jermaine Waller’s enforced 1st half absence, of taking the ball first if they won the toss – they didn’t win, but WF still chose to defer and kick off first, for the same outcome)

  7. And to be fair……the offensive game plan was a major reason for the win, eating up the clock etc. ……..so any one want to give some love to Cornelson?

    1. As much as I would love to have Bud back, this is the perfect time to bring in a new DC. With 10 starters returning on defense, and an offense that can move the ball and score it puts us in a great position to find our next DC.

      1. Agree and think Bud would want it that way. He’s spent 33 years setting up his players for success so why wouldn’t he want to do the same for his successor!

  8. Again, this is a team that is no doubt getting better and better as the year progresses. This is all you can hope for with a team and program that has been sub par for so long especially after the first quarter of the season. This team is getting close to being vintage. Go Hokies!

  9. O Line just continues to get better and better. A year in the weight room and I think we’ll see a line that can dominate a game. Not there yet, but heading in right direction.
    NKis right. GT has been improving. They will be good under this coach. Suddenly this is a trap game. Win in Atlanta and I hope students stick around for Pitt game.

  10. “The one reason why we all start clicking whenever Hendon is rolling is because Hendon has a swagger to him that not a lot of people have,” Turner said.

    All I have to say is what the hell took so long to start him!?

    1. Because he wasn’t ready till he was ready…and because the guy who won the job (RW) on the practice field didn’t perform well enough when the lights were on to keep his spot. If you think that HH was playing head and shoulders better than RW during the Fall camp, Spring practice, etc. and the coaches decided to IGNORE that and start RW instead you’re nuts.

      1. There is no contact on QB’s in practice. It became evident in live action that under duress Willis was quick to bail, throw off his back foot, head for the sideline and lose sight of downfield. It would be nice if real game conditions could be simulated in practice to see how a QB will react to these situations when he is about to get popped for real. Maybe then we would have seen Willis wasn’t the best man for the starting job.

  11. Yes sir! What a game. The Wheatley and Hooker fumbles looked like they might really hurt us but we overcame them. Great defense, ball control offense. Getting better each game. GT gave UVA a battle so maybe that game will not be as easy as we hoped next week. The good news is it appears Fuente is here to stay for awhile longer and we have some talent on defense. That should allow us to attract a quality defensive coordinator.

    1. I felt that way too from a tactical point. But from a strategic point VT held the ball for an enormous time in the first half it was like 20 to 5 minutes at one point. That pretty much took care of any chance that WF would get in an offensive groove and the VT D would be left out on the field for long periods of time. So yeah, VT could have been up two TDs but the damage had been done.

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