ATLANTA (AP) — Hendon Hooker ran for two touchdowns and Virginia Tech rode its dominant defense to a 45-0 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday, giving the Yellow Jackets their first shutout in 22 years.
The Hokies are 5-0 in games started by Hooker, who completed 9 of 13 passes for 159 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown pass to James Mitchell. Hooker sat much of the second half in the lopsided win.
Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won five of its last six games, including four straight over ACC opponents, as they compete for the Coastal Division title.
Georgia Tech (2-8, 1-6) has lost three straight games under first-year coach Geoff Collins.
The Hokies made the most of longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster’s final visit to Bobby Dodd Stadium. Foster is retiring after the season.
Foster’s defense held the Yellow Jackets to 134 yards and eight first downs. Georgia Tech had not been shut out since a 38-0 loss to Florida State on Oct. 18, 1997.
The Yellow Jackets’ last chance to dodge a shutout ended on freshman quarterback Jordan Yates’ fourth-down incompletion from the Virginia Tech 41 with 2:55 remaining.
Virginia Tech’s offense had big plays of 33 yards or longer on four consecutive first-half possessions.
Tayvlon Robinson’s 49-yard gain on a reverse set up Hooker’s first touchdown run of 3 yards.
Tre Turner had a 37-yard catch and a 39-yard run on a sweep to set up scoring runs by Keshawn King and Hooker, respectively. Mitchell added a 33-yard catch on the following drive, but this time the Hokies had to punt.
Virginia Tech’s defense added to the big-play collection on Caleb Farley’s 17-yard interception return.
After Oscar Bradburn’s punt was downed at the Georgia Tech 2, quarterback James Graham rolled right in the end zone and attempted a jump pass when pressured by Chamarri Conner. Farley cut in front of the pass intended for Malachi Carter.
Graham threw two interceptions.
After being outgained in total yards 299-48 in the first half, the Yellow Jackets opened the second half with an onside kick recovered by the Hokies.
Georgia Tech safety Christian Campbell was tossed after his helmet-to-helmet hit on Robinson in the second quarter. A review confirmed the officials’ targeting call on the play.
Yates, possibly still headed for a redshirt season, made his debut for Georgia Tech in the third quarter. He completed 4 of 11 passes for 38 yards.
Graham returned briefly late in the game.
Virginia Tech: One week after an impressive 38-17 win over then-No. 22 Wake Forest, the Hokies appear to have gained more momentum on their path to the ACC championship game. Coach Justin Fuente earned his first win over Georgia Tech in four tries and Hooker improved to 5-0 as a starter.
Georgia Tech: The rebuilding Yellow Jackets found room for encouragement in their previous two losses to Pittsburgh and Virginia by a combined 15 points. It would be difficult to place a positive spin on this ugly loss. While the defense couldn’t avoid giving up big plays, the poor play by the offense could be damaging to the confidence of Graham, a redshirt freshman. Jordan Mason netted minus-7 yards on six carries.
Virginia Tech closes its regular-season schedule with two home games that will help determine the Coastal Division race, including next week’s game against Pittsburgh.
Georgia Tech must attempt to regroup quickly before playing North Carolina State on Thursday night in another home game.