Virginia Tech Wins 2023 Military Bowl presented by GoBowling.com
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Flanked by his standout players for a postgame news conference, Virginia Tech football coach Brent Pry had no question what was next on his itinerary following the Hokies’ 41-20 victory over No. 23 Tulane in the Military Bowl presented by GoBowling.com.
“Let’s go bowling!” Pry said with plenty of enthusiasm after the rain-soaked game before a crowd of 35,849 boisterous fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
It was a terrific finish to the 2023 season as well as a great way to finish Bowl Week for the Hokies. Both teams spent the week in Washington, experiencing the sights of the nation’s capital while also preparing for the game.
Quarterback Kyron Drones, the Bowl’s Most Valuable Player, completed 13 of 21 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 20 times for 176 yards and one touchdown as Virginia Tech (7-6) clinched a winning record. Proceeds from the Bowl benefit Patriot Point, the Military Bowl Foundation’s 294-acre retreat for recovering service members, their families and caregivers.
“I told the team it may take the rest of the offseason for me to tell people how much I appreciate them,” Pry said. “To go from three wins to seven, obviously these players are a huge part of that. … We are making great progress. There are a lot of great things happening right now at Virginia Tech.”
The game was filled with wild plays that included five lost fumbles, and plenty of offense.
Tulane quarterback Kai Horton’s captivating 6-yard touchdown run – where he eluded a sack by spinning backward and outraced the defense to the corner of the end zone – tied it 17-17 early in the third quarter.
Bhayshul Tuten scored on a nine-yard touchdown run and John Love’s 35-yard field goal pushed the Hokies ahead 27-17.
Tulane responded with an 11-play, 73-yard drive, but on fourth-and-goal from the 2, the Green Wave settled for Valentino Ambrosio’s 20-yard field goal. That made it 27-20 but that was as close as Tulane could get.
Drones engineered two quick scoring drives, throwing a 10-yard touchdown pass to Benji Gosnell and then Tuten finished the scoring with a 12-yard touchdown run for a 41-20 lead that held.
“We played our tails off and fought,” Tulane interim coach Slade Nagle said. “We just couldn’t make the plays and you have to give Virginia Tech a lot of credit. They made a lot of plays in the second half.”
Running back Makhi Hughes rushed 15 times for 88 yards to lead Tulane (11-3), which also got several big plays on defense, including linebacker Tyler Grubbs’ 21-yard fumble return for a touchdown to start the scoring.
Virginia Tech took a 10-7 on 35-yard field goal and an 11-yard touchdown run by Drones. Ambrosio’s 49-yard field goal tied it 10-10 before Drones threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Harrsion St. Germain to make it 17-10 with eight seconds left in the first half.
“Being able to hang out with my friends and family and just experience Washington, it was really awesome to see things that a lot of people in their lives couldn’t say they saw,” Grubbs said. “I think just being with the guys on the team around the holidays just kind of shows the brotherhood that we have for each other.”