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No. 18 Va. Tech stages epic comeback, tops Arkansas 35-24

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) It's never easy to replace an icon.

One way to do that is to create your own legacy, something first-year coach Justin Fuente is doing at Virginia Tech after taking over for Frank Beamer.

Jerod Evans threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two scores and No. 18 Virginia Tech pulled off an epic comeback - the largest in the school's 124-year history - by erasing a 24-point halftime deficit to beat Arkansas 35-24 on Thursday night in the Belk Bowl.

''It's a fantastic honor,'' Fuente said. ''And I think it speaks to our guys - the character and toughness and what it means to play for Virginia Tech. They love Virginia Tech.''

Along with that memorable feat, Fuente also won 10 games this season - something no other Hokies coach, even Beamer, can say he accomplished in his first season.

It wasn't easy though.

After being limited to 180 yards in the first half, the Hokies (10-4) took advantage of three interceptions by Razorbacks quarterback Austin Allen and scored touchdowns on five of their first seven possessions of the second half to rattle off 35 unanswered points.

Fuente said the Hokies made minor adjustments to their pass rush at halftime, but it was ''nothing revolutionary.''

''Playing well was important to our kids today and we didn't do it in the first half,'' Fuente said. ''They regrouped. They came out and fought, and scratched and clawed and found a way to get the job done.''

Evans scored on a 4-yard run and threw touchdown strikes to Sam Rogers and Chris Cunningham to cut it to 24-21 In the third quarter. Travon McMillan put the Hokies ahead for good with 12:03 left in the game when he scored on a 6-yard run. Evans sealed the win with an 8-yard touchdown scamper.

''Everyone kept coming to me and telling me they're following my lead,'' Evans said. ''I definitely carried that with a chip on my shoulder, and made sure they understood that I'm with them until the wheels fall off. They fed off of me and I fed off of them.''

He completed 12 of 16 passes for 129 yards and two TDs in the second half.

Virginia Tech came in averaging 35 points, but the Razorbacks (7-6) set the tone early by turning Evans' fumble and interception into 10 points to take a 24-0 halftime lead.

TAKEAWAYS

Arkansas: The Razorbacks fought well in the first half but appeared to run out of steam coming out of the locker room as the protection broke down on offense.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies showed again they never quit. They rallied from 17 points down to beat Notre Dame 31-24 earlier in the season.

ALLEN's STRUGGLES

Allen was spectacular in the first half, completing 13 of 16 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns for the Razorbacks. However, he was limited 63 yards passing and picked off three times in the second half.

''The second half has been our melting point,'' Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. ''... I've never seen anything like it and the tied turn against us like that in all three phases of the game.''

ALL FOR NOTHING

With Arkansas leading 24-7, wide receiver Drew Morgan caught a 74-yard pass from Allen in the third quarter, but then fumbled at the 1 and the ball rolled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback. However, the Razorbacks were bailed out because Virginia Tech was called for illegal hands to the face, giving them a first down - although 65 yards back down the field. But the fumble still proved costly as the Razorbacks would have to punt the ball away four plays later.

Morgan was ejected later in the game for unsportsmanlike conduct when he spit in the face of an opponent.

''That is very embarrassing as a head coach,'' Bielema said. ''I don't want Drew to be remembered for that. When you act out of character, you get out of character results.''

MVP, MVP, MVP

The MVP award was given to wide receiver Cam Phillips. He had six catches for 115 yards and said the comeback was something he wasn't sure would happen.

''When we got down 24 I was like `Sheesh, this is going to be kind of tough,''' Phillips said.

STEALING FROM THE SPONSOR?

Arkansas senior tight end Jeremy Sprinkle was suspended from the game after police accused him of shoplifting from the department store that sponsors the game. Sprinkle was charged by Charlotte Mecklenburg Police with shoplifting by concealment Tuesday at the Belk department store and was released. Players were given a $450 gift card to spend.

UP NEXT

Arkansas: The Razorbacks open next season at home against Florida A&M on Sept. 2.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies will open next season against neighbor West Virginia on Sept. 2 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

---

More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
A. Allen 8 QB
278 YDs, 2 TDs, 3 INTs
J. Evans 4 QB
243 YDs, 2 TDs, 1 INTs
Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 6:41
46-J.Slye extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
24
35
Touchdown 6:41
4-J.Evans runs 1 yard for a touchdown.
2
plays
8
yds
00:09
pos
24
34
Point After TD 12:03
46-J.Slye extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
24
28
Touchdown 12:03
34-T.McMillian runs 6 yards for a touchdown.
9
plays
61
yds
02:57
pos
24
27
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 4:00
46-J.Slye extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
24
21
Touchdown 4:00
4-J.Evans complete to 85-C.Cunningham. 85-C.Cunningham runs 5 yards for a touchdown.
1
plays
5
yds
00:05
pos
24
20
Point After TD 4:18
46-J.Slye extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
24
14
Touchdown 4:18
4-J.Evans complete to 45-S.Rogers. 45-S.Rogers runs 3 yards for a touchdown.
6
plays
47
yds
02:10
pos
24
13
Point After TD 13:32
46-J.Slye extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
24
7
Touchdown 13:32
4-J.Evans runs 4 yards for a touchdown.
3
plays
30
yds
00:35
pos
24
6
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 10:05
9-C.Hedlund extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
24
0
Touchdown 10:05
8-A.Allen complete to 4-K.Hatcher. 4-K.Hatcher runs 12 yards for a touchdown.
7
plays
59
yds
2:42
pos
23
0
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 0:21
9-C.Hedlund extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
17
0
Touchdown 0:21
8-A.Allen complete to 85-C.O'Grady. 85-C.O'Grady runs 28 yards for a touchdown.
2
plays
30
yds
00:40
pos
16
0
Point After TD 2:22
9-C.Hedlund extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
10
0
Touchdown 2:22
8-A.Allen runs 1 yard for a touchdown.
9
plays
90
yds
04:32
pos
9
0
Field Goal 13:30
9-C.Hedlund 38 yards Field Goal is Good.
5
plays
44
yds
0:51
pos
3
0
1st Downs 14 25
Rushing 1 9
Passing 12 14
Penalty 1 2
3rd Down Conv 2-14 7-15
4th Down Conv 0-0 0-1
Total Net Yards 351 417
Total Plays 65 78
Avg Gain 5.4 5.3
Net Yards Rushing 36 159
Rush Attempts 34 44
Avg Rush Yards 1.1 3.6
Net Yards Passing 315 258
Comp. - Att. 18-31 21-34
Yards Per Pass 10.2 7.6
Sacked - Yards Lost 6-37 4-15
Penalties - Yards 12-75 4-45
Touchdowns 3 5
Rushing TDs 1 3
Passing TDs 2 2
Other 0 0
Turnovers 4 2
Fumbles - Lost 1-1 2-1
Int. Thrown 3 1
Punts - Avg 7-43.4 6-39.2
Return Yards 87 101
Punts - Returns 1-21 1-5
Kickoffs - Returns 1-16 4-78
Int. - Returns 1-50 3-18
Kicking 4/4 5/6
Extra Points 3/3 5/5
Field Goals 1/1 0/1
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Arkansas 7-61770024
22 Virginia Tech 10-400211435
315 PASS YDS 258
36 RUSH YDS 159
351 TOTAL YDS 417
Arkansas
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
A. Allen 8 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
58.1% 278 2 3 135.3
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
61.1% 3430 25 15 146.0
A. Allen 18/31 278 2 3
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
R. Williams III 22 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
12 34 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
245 1360 12
R. Williams III 12 34 0 9
D. Stewart 13 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 5 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
2 9 0
D. Stewart 1 5 0 5
K. Hatcher 4 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
4 7 0
K. Hatcher 1 4 0 4
D. Morgan 80 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
4 8 0
D. Morgan 1 4 0 4
T. Hammonds 6 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 2 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
15 88 1
T. Hammonds 1 2 0 2
D. Whaley 21 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
5 1 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
110 602 3
D. Whaley 5 1 0 3
K. Walker 24 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 -1 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
33 109 1
K. Walker 2 -1 0 2
A. Allen 8 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
11 -13 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
65 -126 2
A. Allen 11 -13 1 10
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
K. Hatcher 4 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
6 105 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
44 743 8
K. Hatcher 6 105 1 29
D. Morgan 80 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 75 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
65 739 3
D. Morgan 4 75 0 36
C. O'Grady 85 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 40 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
3 63 1
C. O'Grady 2 40 1 28
D. Whaley 21 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 26 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
6 139 0
D. Whaley 1 26 0 26
D. Stewart 13 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 19 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 34 0
D. Stewart 1 19 0 19
D. Reed 3 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 13 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
16 255 2
D. Reed 2 13 0 17
A. Cantrell 44 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 7 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
13 120 2
A. Cantrell 1 7 0 7
H. Johnson 32 FB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 25 0
H. Johnson 0 0 0 0
R. Williams III 22 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 -7 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
15 220 1
R. Williams III 1 -7 0 -7
Defense T-A SACK INT
J. Collins 29 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-3 0 0.0
J. Collins 7-3 0.0 0
T. Johnson 94 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 1.0
T. Johnson 5-1 1.0 0
D. Eugene 35 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 1 0.0
D. Eugene 5-1 0.0 0
D. Coley 20 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
D. Coley 4-1 0.0 0
J. Liddell 28 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 2 0.0
J. Liddell 4-1 0.0 0
J. Ledbetter 55 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-3 0 1.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-3 0 1.5
J. Ledbetter 3-3 1.5 0
R. Pulley 11 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 2 0.0
R. Pulley 3-0 0.0 1
B. Ellis 51 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-2 1 0.0
B. Ellis 3-2 0.0 0
D. Wise Jr. 48 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
D. Wise Jr. 3-1 0.0 0
S. Ramirez 9 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-2 1 0.0
S. Ramirez 3-2 0.0 0
D. Greenlaw 23 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-3 1 0.0
D. Greenlaw 3-3 0.0 0
H. Toliver 5 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 2 0.0
H. Toliver 2-0 0.0 0
R. Ramsey 10 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
R. Ramsey 2-1 0.0 0
A. Capps 41 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
A. Capps 1-0 0.0 0
J. Winston 6 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 1.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 1.5
J. Winston 1-2 1.5 0
M. Agim 3 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
M. Agim 1-1 0.0 0
K. Roesler 96 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
K. Roesler 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
C. Hedlund 9 K
IN-GAME FG XP
1/1 3/3
SEASON FG XP
5/7 25/25
C. Hedlund 1/1 38 3/3 6
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
T. Baker 37 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
7 43.4 3
SEASON NO AVG IN20
57 44.4 3
T. Baker 7 43.4 3 50
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
D. Morgan 80 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 16.0 16 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
3 19.3 16 0
D. Morgan 1 16.0 16 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
K. Hatcher 4 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 21.0 21 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 21.0 21 0
K. Hatcher 1 21.0 21 0
Virginia Tech
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
J. Evans 4 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
63.6% 243 2 1 139.4
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
63.5% 3546 29 8 153.0
J. Evans 21/33 243 2 1
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
J. Evans 4 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
22 93 2
SEASON ATT YDS TD
204 852 12
J. Evans 22 93 2 33
T. McMillian 34 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
9 28 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
9 28 1
T. McMillian 9 28 1 21
C. Phillips 5 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 16 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
4 16 0
C. Phillips 4 16 0 15
I. Ford 1 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 14 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
2 14 0
I. Ford 2 14 0 9
B. Hodges 7 TE
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 10 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
9 42 0
B. Hodges 2 10 0 15
S. Rogers 45 FB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
67 283 2
S. Rogers 2 4 0 2
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
C. Phillips 5 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
6 115 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
6 115 0
C. Phillips 6 115 0 38
I. Ford 1 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
6 56 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
6 56 0
I. Ford 6 56 0 13
B. Hodges 7 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
5 51 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
48 691 7
B. Hodges 5 51 0 15
S. Rogers 45 FB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 14 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
24 301 4
S. Rogers 2 14 1 11
C. Cunningham 85 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 5 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
6 48 4
C. Cunningham 1 5 1 5
T. McMillian 34 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 2 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 2 0
T. McMillian 1 2 0 2
Defense T-A SACK INT
C. Clark 19 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
10-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
10-0 0 0.0
C. Clark 10-0 0.0 0
B. Facyson 31 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-2 0 0.0
B. Facyson 7-2 0.0 0
M. Reynolds 6 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 2.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 2.0
M. Reynolds 5-0 2.0 0
Tr. Edmunds 49 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-4 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-4 1 0.0
Tr. Edmunds 5-4 0.0 1
A. Shegog 24 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 1 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 1 1.0
A. Shegog 4-1 1.0 1
W. Baron 60 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 1.0
W. Baron 3-1 1.0 0
A. Motuapuaka 54 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-3 3 0.0
A. Motuapuaka 3-3 0.0 0
T. Hill 94 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 1.0
T. Hill 3-1 1.0 0
Te. Edmunds 22 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 1 0.0
Te. Edmunds 2-0 0.0 1
A. Alexander 36 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
A. Alexander 2-0 0.0 0
K. Ekanem 4 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
K. Ekanem 1-0 1.0 0
N. Williams 8 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
N. Williams 1-0 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
J. Slye 46 K
IN-GAME FG XP
0/1 5/5
SEASON FG XP
0/1 5/5
J. Slye 0/1 0 5/5 5
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
M. Ludwig 90 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
6 39.2 5
SEASON NO AVG IN20
68 38.8 5
M. Ludwig 6 39.2 5 48
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
R. Walker 98 DT
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 9.5 11 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
2 9.5 11 0
R. Walker 2 9.5 11 0
H. Murphy 12 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 29.5 47 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
12 26.8 47 0
H. Murphy 2 29.5 47 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
C. Phillips 5 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 5.0 5 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 5.0 5 0
C. Phillips 1 5.0 5 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:47 VATECH 26 1:17 4 -39 FG
11:04 ARK 37 1:03 3 7 Punt
6:54 ARK 10 4:32 9 90 TD
1:01 VATECH 30 0:40 2 30 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:41 ARK 46 3:36 8 59 TD
8:35 ARK 10 3:15 6 56 Punt
3:13 ARK 10 2:21 6 12 Punt
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 ARK 25 0:45 4 -1 FUMBLE
13:27 ARK 25 1:12 5 4 Punt
9:22 ARK 14 2:47 6 19 INT
4:00 ARK 25 3:42 7 10 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:03 ARK 25 1:45 5 -11 Punt
7:43 ARK 17 0:43 3 -7 FUMBLE
6:41 ARK 25 1:42 6 14 Punt
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:56 VATECH 36 0:00 1 -10
13:18 VATECH 16 2:06 9 55
9:51 VATECH 11 2:47 6 36 Punt
2:13 ARK 47 0:59 3 2 INT
0:21 VATECH 25 0:00 1 1
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 VATECH 26 1:07 2 5 Punt
10:01 VATECH 42 1:18 4 16 Punt
5:14 VATECH 8 1:53 5 46 Punt
0:46 VATECH 25 0:41 7 45 FG Miss
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:07 ARK 30 0:35 3 30 TD
11:43 VATECH 17 2:13 5 18 Punt
6:28 ARK 44 2:10 6 44 TD
4:05 ARK 5 0:05 1 5 TD
0:10 VATECH 24 0:00 1 15
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 VATECH 39 2:57 9 61 TD
10:11 VATECH 36 2:20 6 13 Punt
6:50 ARK 8 0:09 2 8 TD
4:52 VATECH 28 4:19 10 28