Hendon Hooker has provided an undeniable jolt to the Virginia Tech offense, regardless of what label one wants to place on him.
With the versatile quarterback under center, the 19th-ranked Hokies aim to continue to put a plethora of points on the scoreboard Saturday when they play Atlantic Coast Conference-rival Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Virginia Tech (3-1, 3-1 ACC) has erupted for 71 points in six quarters under the direction of Hooker, who missed the team's season opener because of undisclosed reasons before failing to play in its second game.
Hooker replaced Braxton Burmeister at halftime on Oct. 10 and threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another in the Hokies' 56-45 loss at North Carolina. Hooker then rushed for a career-high 164 yards and three scores and threw for another in Virginia Tech's 40-14 win over Boston College on Saturday.
"I'm kind of considered a dual-threat quarterback because of how I can make plays," Hooker said. "In my eyes, it's just playing football, so I really don't put a label on it."
The Demon Deacons might have a few choice words to describe Hooker, who completed 15 of 23 passes for 242 yards and rushed for 69 more in Virginia Tech's 36-17 victory over them on Nov. 9, 2019. Hooker capped his performance in that game with a 7-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
Back to last Saturday, Khalil Herbert continued his sizzling season by reeling in a screen pass from Hooker and scampering 29 yards for a touchdown.
Herbert boosted his rushing total to a nation second-best 592 yards after running for 143 versus the Eagles, marking his fourth straight triple-digit rushing performance of the season. He is the first Virginia Tech with such a streak since David Wilson amassed seven triple-digit efforts in a row in 2011.
Virginia Tech's opportunistic defense forced five turnovers, including three on the Eagles' first four possessions, however coach Justin Fuente is holding his tongue on the praise.
"I don't know. I'm hesitant to say anything," Fuente said, per Richmond.com. "You see guys make comments and the next thing you know, it bites them in the tail, so I don't know."
Wake Forest (2-2, 1-2) won its second consecutive contest with a 40-23 victory over Virginia last Saturday, with Sam Hartman setting the tone for what would become a 309-yard performance by tossing a 40-yard touchdown pass to A.T. Perry on the game's opening drive.
Jaquarii Roberson recorded a career-high 126 yards receiving and Kenneth Walker III posted his second three-touchdown performance in three games for the Demon Deacons, who overcame 12 penalties for 119 yards in the contest.
"This football team has to be an ascending team, but when you're young, you need these nuggets and these wins to keep them going," Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. "Tuesday practice would've been tough 1-3, and so this was a really big win for momentum, to keep our season going and to give our guys a shot of confidence."
--Field Level Media