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WVU Upsets No. 15 Virginia Tech to Take Black Diamond Trophy

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia won the toss and elected to defer to begin the 53rd edition of the Black Diamond Trophy game.

The West Virginia defense came out swinging in the first series, forcing the No. 15 Virginia Tech Hokies offense to a 3rd and 5 and a subsequent punt to start the game. A strong tackle by WVU redshirt junior defensive end Taijh Alston on that third down play began a routing of the Virginia Tech offense that continued through the rest of the game.

Following the punt, WVU QB1 Jarret Doege’s first pass of the game, intended for redshirt junior wide receiver Sam James, was ruled incomplete. Mountaineer fans weren’t destined for disappointment though, as the next play, senior running back Leddie Brown broke through the Hokies defense to score on an 80-yard rush. WVU lead quickly, to the excitement of the 60,022 Gold Rush fans at Milan Puskar Stadium. The Mountaineers lead 7-0 with 12:24 remaining in the first quarter.

Using that momentum, the Mountaineers treated VT’s offense like swiss cheese. WVU redshirt senior free safety Alonzo Addae quickly sacked VT’s QB1 Braxton Burmeister for a loss of six yards. The result of that drive was a Virginia Tech punt by Peter Moore, the first of many. This field position put WVU offensive coordinator Gerad Parker’s team in a good spot to penetrate, which they did in three plays. A Doege to Bryce Ford-Wheaton 29-yard touchdown run and another Casey Legg extra point bumped the Mountaineers up 14-0 with 9:11 remaining in the first.

The third series included five Virginia Tech first downs, as Burmeister’s offense trudged up the field. The eleven-play series resulted in the Hokies’ first points on the board. Burmeister heaved a 23-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Tayvion Robinson to close the scoring gap 14-7 with 3:11 left in the first quarter.

The anticipated Winston Wright kickoff return didn’t produce to quite the extent that Mountaineer fans were hoping: only 24 yards. Redshirt freshman Garrett Greene made his first appearance of the day during this drive, carrying the ball six yards. When Doege re-entered the drive, on 2nd and 10, he couldn’t capitalize. Redshirt senior punter Tyler Sumpter, who we didn’t see at all during the 66-0 LIU game, was sent out to punt his first of the game, a 38 yarder that Burmeister’s scrambling couldn’t cut through to close the first quarter.

The second quarter began with another dominant WVU defensive showing. Addae tackled Robinson to force a VT fourth down; when Burmeister attempted to advance the ball himself, redshirt senior CAT Sean Mahone went in for a stellar no-gain stuffing on 4th and 1.

It took three minutes and a drive each to land WVU back with the ball on the third drive. Greene, who began the drive, carried it 12 yards to set up Doege’s return, and a subsequent touchdown. The Doege – James connection was good for a 30-yard gain followed by a 16-yard pass into the end zone to push WVU up 21-7 with 7:44 remaining in the half. One more quick score from Doege to James, ruled complete after review, put Legg in for yet another extra point. With Legg’s third made kick of the game, the Mountaineers entered halftime leading the Hokies 24-7.

Wright Jr.’s second kickoff return of the game went for 18 yards, to put the Mountaineer offense, flanked by tight end Mike O’Laughlin, at the 40-yard-line. The Mountaineer offense seemed tired, and elected to send Legg out for a field goal following a 3rd and 12 field position. Legg, the most consistent WVU player, made the field goal, putting the Mountaineers up 27-7 with 8:17 left in the third quarter.

Burmeister was in for a rough next drive, as both redshirt sophomore BANDIT Jared Bartlett and Alston sacked him back-to-back. It didn’t stop the Hokie advancement though, as Burmeister rushed for 25 yards and then handed the ball to redshirt junior running back Raheem Blackshear for a 20-yard rushing touchdown. At the end of the third quarter, the Hokies had steadily closed the gap 27-14.

Doege’s first fumble of the game was recovered by Virginia Tech’s redshirt sophomore linebacker Alan Tisdale. Bartlett tried again to influence Burmeister’s run, which he did successfully. The Virginia Tech Hokies were left with a quarterback in the turf and a loss of seven yards once the redshirt sophomore was done. The next play wasn’t in the cards for Burmeister either, as a sack by Bartlett fumbled the ball. It was recovered by WVU redshirt sophomore linebacker Lance Dixon on 4th and Goal at the six.

The WVU defense had its target set on Burmeister, as redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Jefferson added to the sacks, pummeling Burmeister back for a loss of seven yards. Burmeister, undeterred, found redshirt junior running back Jalen Holston for a 29-yard pass into the end zone. With 3:10 left in the game, the Hokies stoked the fire of fear in Mountaineer fans, closing the scoring gap 27-21.

The Mountaineer defense got concerningly close to letting another scoring drive in, but two Burmeister pass attempts to junior wide receiver Tre Turner went incomplete; the latter of which was blocked at the one by redshirt junior cornerback Jackie Matthews. The Mountaineers evaded the additional score, winning its 29th Black Diamond Trophy game at home. The Mountaineers (2-1) move to 17-9 at home in the rivalry.

On the 6,195th day, the Virginia Tech Hokies had to forfeit the Black Diamond Trophy.

Doege concluded the game 15-26 for 193 yards and two touchdowns, to Burmeister’s 19-31 for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Brown had a great game, recording 161 yards and a single touchdown. The WVU defense recorded six sacks of Burmeister, along with 13 tackles for loss amounting to 49 yards.

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