The Black Diamond Trophy is headed back to Morgantown after West Virginia topped Virginia Tech 33-10 at Lane Stadium on Thursday.
The Hokies (2-2) were among the best in the country at stopping the run until the Mountaineers (2-2) came to Blacksburg. WVU more-than quintupled the Hokie defense’s rushing average, combining for 218 yards on the ground as freshman phenom CJ Donaldson recorded his third 100-yard game of the season with 106 yards. Justin Johnson was WVU’s second-leading rusher with 83 yards and added his first career touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The story of WVU’s game was the non-headliners. JT Daniels found Bryce Ford-Wheaton, his favorite target this season, just three times. Instead, Kaden Prather was the leading receiver with six grabs for 69 yards, while Sam James caught WVU’s only touchdown through the air from 23 yards out.
Daniels finished the contest 20-of-30 for 203 yards.
Virginia Tech’s offense struggled to get going against a re-energized Mountaineer defense, gaining 228 total yards in the contest. Grant Wells gained 193 of those yards through the air and scored Tech’s only touchdown when he could Kaleb Smith from 28 yards out in the second quarter.
Wells’s final miscue in the fourth quarter also sealed the loss for the Hokies when he was intercepted by Jacolby Spells. The freshman cornerback returned the pick 27 yards for WVU’s 17th-straight points of the half to go ahead by 23.
WVU struggled to finish drives, but still turned most of its series into points. It punted twice in the game, while Casey Legg finished a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals.
William Ross made his only field goal attempt for Tech from 44 yards out.
The Mountaineers were also aided by a lack of discipline by the Hokies. Virginia Tech committed 15 penalties for 132 yards throughout the game, many of which came at critical junctures of the game to help extend drives. It also lost one of its players for the first half of its next game against North Carolina after Jalen Stroman was ejected for targeting.
WVU wasn’t exactly innocent in the penalty column, either, committing six for 69 yards.
West Virginia earns its 30th victory over Virginia Tech in the 54th meeting between the two programs. The Black Diamond Trophy will remain in Morgantown for the foreseeable future as this was the last scheduled clash between the two programs.
The Mountaineers stay on the road for their next clash as they resume their Big 12 schedule to line up against No. 22 Texas in Austin on Oct. 1.