LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP)Jalen Holston rushed for 99 yards and a career-high three touchdowns and Virginia Tech snapped a seven-game losing streak by surprising Liberty 23-22 on Saturday.
The Hokies’ defense, maligned during the lengthy losing skid, came up with two big stops in the final minutes to preserve the one-point lead. They forced an incomplete pass by Liberty quarterback Kaidon Salter to get the ball back near midfield, then forced Johnathan Bennett to lose a fumble on the Flames’ next possession.
Holston picked up a key first down that allowed the Hokies (3-8) to salt the final minute away.
Virginia Tech quarterback Grant Wells completed 14 of 20 passes for 148 yards.
Liberty (8-3) rotated two quarterbacks – Bennett and Salter – with mixed results.
Bennett led the only offensive touchdown drive on his 15-yard touchdown run, and Salter threw for 119 yards on 12-of-18 passing.
Holston’s second touchdown run gave the Hokies a 17-7 lead that lasted for 14 seconds.
Shedro Louis, playing one week after attending his father’s funeral in Immokalee, Florida, returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.
Nick Brown converted on a 47-yard field goal before halftime to tie the game at 17.
Holston converted on his third rushing touchdown with 7:46 remaining that gave the Hokies the game-winning score.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies showed some fight and took a 23-22 lead in the fourth quarter on Jalen Holston’s third rushing touchdown of the game. It was Tech’s first fourth-quarter points since tallying 14 on Oct. 15 against Miami.
Liberty: The Flames dropped their second straight game after rising to 19th in the AP Poll two weeks ago.
Virginia Tech: Wraps up the regular season Saturday against Virginia.
Liberty: Completes a two-game homestand with its regular-season finale Saturday against New Mexico State. Both teams are joining Conference USA in 2023.