ATLANTA (AP) — Giving outgoing longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster a shutout was special for Caleb Farley and the Virginia Tech defense.
The fact the shutout came against Georgia Tech was a bonus.
Hendon Hooker ran for two touchdowns, Farley returned an interception for a score and Virginia Tech rode its dominant defense to a 45-0 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets were shut out for the first time in 22 years.
It was a dramatic turnaround for the Hokies’ defense from last year’s 49-28 loss to Georgia Tech.
“I don’t know if y’all remember what they did to us last year, but I’m pretty sure everybody was fuming to get their hands on some Yellow Jackets,” Farley said.
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 to move into contention for the Coastal Division title.
Georgia Tech (2-8, 1-6) has lost three straight games under first-year coach Geoff Collins.
Foster is retiring after the season.
“That’s awesome to be able to get a shutout in coach Foster’s last year,” Farley said. “That’s a dream come true for me and I know it is for everybody else in the locker room.”
Foster’s defense held the Yellow Jackets to 134 yards. Georgia Tech had not been shut out since a 38-0 loss to Florida State on Oct. 18, 1997.
“We’ll just make the adjustments moving forward to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Collins said.
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.
The Hokies’ offense had 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, which ended with a rare punt.
Georgia Tech’s James Graham threw two interceptions, including a second-quarter pass from the end zone returned 17 yards by Farley for a touchdown.
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.
Virginia Tech: One week after an impressive 38-17 win over then-No. 22 Wake Forest, the Hokies gained more momentum on their path to the ACC championship game. Coach Justin Fuente earned his first win over Georgia Tech in four tries.
Georgia Tech: 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.
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.
Virginia Tech became bowl eligible for the 27th consecutive season, the nation’s longest active streak. Two of the Hokies’ first six wins were against FCS opponents Furman and Rhode Island — one more than allowed to count for bowl eligibility.
YATES GETS A LOOK
Yates, possibly still headed for a redshirt season, completed 4 of 11 passes for 38 yards in his first snaps at quarterback. “I thought he came in there and provided us a spark in trying to get something done against a really good defense,” Collins said.
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.