December 1, 2018 / 8:43 PM / 18 days ago

Virginia Tech bowl eligible after defeating Marshall

Junior quarterback Ryan Willis passed for a career high four touchdowns as Virginia Tech took advantage of Marshall’s early mistakes for a quick lead and eventual 41-20 victory Saturday afternoon in Blacksburg’s Lane Stadium.

The marks the fourth time in the last seven years that the Hokies (6-6) have achieved bowl eligibility with a win in their final regular-season game and extends their overall bowl streak to 26 consecutive seasons.

The Thundering Herd (8-4) of Conference USA was bowl eligible going into the day.

The game was a makeup for Virginia Tech’s scheduled outing with East Carolina and Marshall’s scheduled trip to South Carolina that were canceled in September because of Hurricane Florence. It was to be played only if Tech had a shot at postseason eligibility.

Willis was 18-of-26 passing for 312 yards and had his career-high four touchdown passes in the first half with scoring strikes of 46 yards to wide receiver Hezekiah Grimsley, 45 to wide receiver Tre Turner, 7 to running back Steven Peoples, and 32 to wide receiver Eric Kumah.

The Hokies had the game well in hand by halftime, leading 31-6 after Willis’ fourth touchdown pass with 1:12 left in the second period.

Redshirt freshman Brenden Knox had a career high in rushing with 158 yards by the end of the half and finished the game with 204 yards and two touchdowns for Marshall.

Knox sparked the Herd to a 167-52 advantage in rushing yardage in the first half, but two turnovers by the Herd— a fumble on the first play and an interception later in the first quarter — put the Herd in an early 10-0 hole.

Brian Johnson provided the only points of the third quarter with his second field goal to put the Hokies up 34-6.

Marshall scored its second touchdown on the first play of the fourth period on redshirt freshman quarterback Isaiah Green’s 34-yard pass to tight end Xavier Gaines, but Tech answered later with running back Jalen Holston’s 40-yard touchdown run with 4:56 remaining.

Knox scored Marshall’s final touchdown on a 5-yard run with under two minutes left.

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