BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Bhayshul Tuten rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown to lead Virginia Tech to a 38-10 victory over Syracuse on Thursday night.
Malachi Thomas rushed for 87 yards and quarterback Kyron Drones added 65 yards rushing for the Hokies (4-4, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who amassed season highs in rushing yards (318) and total yards (528) and won for the third time in the past four games.
“We’ve got great kids, and we’ve surrounded them with good people,” Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry said. “They’re getting better all the time, and that’s what you’re supposed to do over the course of a season — improve. We’ve been able to do that, even if it didn’t show up in the win-loss column. We’ve gotten better each week with some important things. We’ve got a good culture in our locker room, and we’ve got to keep building on it.”
Virginia Tech never trailed, scoring on its first six possessions. Da’Quan Felton hauled in two touchdown passes, including a 62-yarder from Drones and a 16-yarder on a tailback pass from Thomas. Tuten added a 3-yard touchdown run, and John Love kicked three field goals as the Hokies led 30-3 at halftime.
The Hokies had 341 yards and 17 first downs in the first half.
Syracuse (4-4, 0-4) now has lost four straight games by an average of 29 points per game. Quarterback Garrett Shrader paced the Orange with 138 yards passing and a touchdown but was sacked eight times.
“It’s starting to be a theme,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said of his team’s slow starts. “I’m not satisfied with that. We have to find a way to stop that. We’ve got to get in these games and not get out of them. I’m a little upset about that, so we’re going to go back and we will do — and I will do — whatever we can to make sure that we have the opportunity to find a way to start faster.”
Syracuse: The Orange looked horrible from the start, committing penalties on three of their first five offensive plays and finishing with just 62 yards in the first half. This performance did nothing to end speculation about coach Babers’ future. Babers, who is in his eighth season at Syracuse, is now 40-53 as the coach and has led the Orange to just two winning seasons and two bowl appearances.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies continue to take advantage of a weak ACC slate, Their three wins in this stretch have come against Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and Syracuse — the bottom three teams in the standings. They’ll find out more about themselves in their next game when they travel to No. 18 Louisville.
DRONES EXTENDS STREAK
Drones extended his streak of consecutive passes without an interception to 151. He surpassed the previous longest stretch of 149 attempts by Sean Glennon in 2007, though Virginia Tech has only tracked this statistic since 1987.
Drones completed 15 of 24 for 194 yards, and he also surpassed more than 1,000 yards passing for the season. He has thrown just one interception all year, and Virginia Tech has turned the ball over just three times in the past four games.
“Protecting that football, we work so hard at it,” Pry said. “We work on ball security each and every day, and right now, the guys are being pretty good with it.”
Syracuse: The Orange host Boston College on Nov. 3.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies play at No. 18 Louisville on Nov. 4.