Converted receiver-turned-quarterback Lynn Bowden fired a 13-yard touchdown pass to Josh Ali with 15 seconds remaining to lead Kentucky past Virginia Tech 37-30 Tuesday in the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
The pass capped an 18-play, 85-yard drive that lasted 8:10 and saw the Wildcats (8-5) convert a pair of fourth downs. It also rounded out a terrific game for Bowden, who rushed for 233 yards and two scores on 34 carries while throwing for 73 yards on 6-of-12 passing with an interception and the one touchdown.
Quarterback Hendon Hooker hit on 12 of 22 passes for 110 yards with two scores for the Hokies (8-5). His final throw, a 3-yard completion to Tayvion Robinson, led to a series of unsuccessful laterals and then a fumble that Jordan Wright returned 28 yards for a touchdown as time expired.
Virginia Tech’s Brian Johnson broke the scoring seal just 3:45 into the game by bombing a 54-yard field goal, but Kentucky drove 80 yards and burned nearly seven minutes off the clock on its first possession, capped off by Bowden’s 25-yard touchdown run.
The Hokies responded with a pair of scores through the air. Hooker found Damon Hazleton for an 18-yard touchdown with 2:04 left in the first quarter, then hit Dalton Keene with a 6-yard strike at the 10:20 mark of the second quarter for a 17-7 advantage.
The Wildcats answered back with Chris Rodriguez’s 2-yard touchdown run 53 seconds before the half, shaving the deficit to 17-14 at intermission.
Matt Ruffolo booted a 40-yard field goal just over 3 1/2 minutes into the third quarter to tie the score, but Deshawn McClease peeled off a 43-yard touchdown run for Virginia Tech at the 9:57 mark. Bowden evened the score two minutes later on a 61-yard touchdown burst.
Johnson hit field goals of 40 and 27 yards to give the Hokies a 30-24 lead, but it wasn’t enough to stop Bowden, who got the last word after getting into a fracas with Virginia Tech players about 90 minutes before kickoff.
It was the last game in the 33-year coaching career of Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster.
—Field Level Media