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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Military Bowl: Virginia Tech 41, Tulane 20

College Football

By NOAH TRISTER
Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Kyron Drones ran for 176 yards and a touchdown and also threw for two TDs as Virginia Tech withstood a second-half downpour to beat No. 23 Tulane 41-20 in the Military Bowl.

Drones fumbled three times in the slippery conditions, but the Hokies (7-6) only lost one of them. The sophomore quarterback passed for only 91 yards, but he and Bhayshul Tuten were tough to stop on the ground.

Tuten finished with 136 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries to help Virginia Tech snap a four-game losing streak in bowls.

Tulane (11-3) was without star quarterback Michael Pratt. Both Kai Horton and Justin Ibieta played in his place, but Ibieta was carted off in the second quarter with an apparent leg injury. Makhi Hughes rushed for 88 yards.

An unforced fumble by Drones gave the Green Wave an early lead when Tyler Grubbs scooped up the ball and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown. After a muffed punt gave Virginia Tech the ball at the Tulane 11, Drones ran for a TD on the first play to put the Hokies up 10-7.

Drones also lost the ball on that run, but he was ruled to have reached the end zone first.

Tulane had first-and-goal from the 1 when Horton was hit by Pheldarius Payne as he tried to hand off. The Hokies recovered that fumble to stave off a great scoring opportunity.

Virginia Tech took a 17-10 lead on Drones’ 1-yard scoring pass to Harrison Saint Germain with 8 seconds left in the half.

Then the rain really seemed to pick up, but it didn’t affect Virginia Tech’s running game that much — as long as the Hokies held onto the ball.

Jaylin Lane lost a fumble in the first minute of the second half, and Tulane took advantage of that short field, tying the game on a 6-yard scramble by Horton. But Drones broke loose for a 51-yard gain on the next drive, and Tuten’s 9-yard scoring run put the Hokies up 24-17.

Drones threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Benji Gosnell early in the fourth, and after Tulane lost its third fumble of the day, Tuten scored on a 12-yard run to make it 41-20.

THE TAKEAWAY

Virginia Tech: The Hokies lost three straight in September against Purdue, Rutgers and Marshall, but they did a nice job rallying for a winning season. Virginia Tech appears headed in a positive direction under coach Brent Pry.

Tulane: The Green Wave have won 23 games over the past two seasons, but they lost coach Willie Fritz to Houston earlier this month, and interim coach Slade Nagle had a tough task in this bowl.

December 27, 2023





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