BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Kyron Drones threw two touchdown passes and for a career-high 321 yards to lead Virginia Tech to a 30-13 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday.
Drones also rushed for 59 yards, and Virginia Tech’s defense held the Demon Deacons to just 262 yards as the Hokies (3-4, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) won for the second time in the past three games.
“That’s the best we’ve played as far as complimentary ball,” Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry said. “People get tired of me talking about it, but that was the recipe for us to win this game. … When they made a play, we answered. That’s who we have to be right now. I thought the wealth was shared throughout. There were a lot of guys that made plays.”
Wake Forest (3-3, 0-3), which has lost three straight games, struggled on offense, turning the ball over three times and benching quarterback Mitch Griffis after he threw an interception late in the first quarter. The Demon Deacons’ lone touchdown came on a 96-yard kickoff return by Demond Claiborne late in the first half.
Drones, who completed 20 of 29 passes, threw touchdown strikes of 75 and 12 yards to Jaylin Lane, who finished with 102 yards receiving. John Love kicked two of his three field goals in the second half for Virginia Tech, which never trailed and finished with a season-high 462 yards.
Michael Kern completed 14 of 22 passes for 166 yards to lead the Demon Deacons, but fumbled twice.
“We have a decision to make,” Wake Forest receiver Taylor Morin said. “That’s what Coach (Dave Clawson) came in and told the team. We can either lay down and call it quits for the rest of the season or we can fight. I know our locker room, I know our team, and we’re going to fight. It starts in practice.”
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons are struggling on offense. They have scored just one offensive touchdown in the past two games and haven’t amassed 275 yards in either. They need a jolt and it will be interesting to see if Clawson inserts Kern into the starting role to give them one.
“Right now, offensively we are really struggling,” Clawson said. “It has been a long time since we have been in this position, and it is not fun. We have to really take a hard look at what we are doing and who we are doing it with and give our guys a better chance at competing. We are not giving ourselves a chance in the red zone, with our short yardage and the sacks. We don’t make explosive plays, and that has always been a key to our offense. We are not making those plays, and at times, we don’t have the protection that holds up.
“I’m 10 years into this, and we aren’t starting a program. We have a program, and that was a bad performance.”
Virginia Tech: Drones continues to play well for the Hokies. He has thrown just one interception all season and none in the past four games. His steady play and a remaining schedule that features several winnable games in a weak ACC this year has Virginia Tech thinking optimistically about bowl possibilities.
“I thought he put it all together today,” Pry said. “He’s understanding the offense better. The chemistry between him and Coach Bowen (offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen) is better. It’s growing each and every week. He just hasn’t played a lot. This was his fifth start. These guys get better as they play more, particularly a quarterback.”
Virginia Tech’s defense played maybe its best game of the season. The Hokies’ rush defense had been abysmal this season, allowing more than 200 yards rushing to four of seven opponents. But the Hokies gave up just 19 yards against the Demon Deacons — a number helped by a season-best seven sacks — and held an opponent without an offensive touchdown for the first time since 2019.
“I’m proud of the defense,” Pry said. “You hold a group to two field goals and you should win the game.
“All of us have a ton of pride. I tell them to ignore the noise, but I know they hear it. We’re not that far away. We’ve got to eliminate explosive runs. We did that against Pitt, we didn’t do it last week, but we did today. When we do that, I think we’re pretty salty.”
Wake Forest: The Deacons host Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies host Syracuse on Oct. 26.