Sep. 23—BLACKSBURG, Va. — WVU begged and pleaded for a big play from its secondary all season, and it couldn't have come at a better time Thursday night against Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium.
Leading 26-10 in the fourth quarter, true freshman Jacolby Spells had the first interception of the season, picking off VT quarterback Grant Wells with just over 10 minutes to go to put the final nail in the coffin.
The Mountaineers (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) were able to keep the Black Diamond Trophy in Morgantown with a 33-10 win over VT (2-2, 1-0 ACC).
It was WVU's first win in Blacksburg since 2002.
Spells' interception was the first of the season through four games for the Mountaineers, a turnover they've tried get through the first three games, especially the first two against Pitt and Kansas, the two losses of the year.
The secondary was criticized for a poor performance against the Jayhawks in Week 2, but the defense as a whole did not allow a touchdown last week at Towson.
With the stakes raised in a major way this week, they rose to the occasion to get WVU back to.500 heading into Big 12 play next week, beginning with a road game at Texas on Oct. 1.
Earlier in the second half, running back Justin Johnson capped off a scoring drive with a 6-yard run, adding to his 83 yards total for the game. It was Johnson's first-career touchdown.
CJ Donaldson finished with 106 yards, his third 100-yard game of the year. Tony Mathis fumbled in the second quarter and did not see the field again until mop-up duty in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback JT Daniels finished 20 of 30 for 203 yards and a touchdown. Kaden Prather was the leading receiver with six catches for 69 yards.
In a half that seemed dominated by the Hokies, the Mountaineers were able to grab a 13-7 lead to end the first half on a 24-yard seam route by Sam James from Daniels.
It was a half that seemed to be dominated by WVU, outgaining VT 237-140, but costly mistakes kept the Mountaineers off the board.
On the verge of a 98-yard touchdown drive from the VT 5-yard line, Brown called a timeout following a first down stop. On the next two plays, Tony Mathis was stopped for no gain and Daniels threw and incompletion to Bryce Ford-Wheaton, forcing a field goal.
The Hokies got their lone touchdown on a 28-yard touchdown strike from Grant Wells to Kaleb Smith, freezing cornerback Welsey McCormick.
WVU's other two scoring drives, ending in field goals from Casey Legg, were from 23 and 35 yards, respectively.