CHARLOTTESVILLE — After four years in the defensive trenches, fifth-year UVa defensive tackle Eli Hanback had a final home game that would be the envy of any fellow lineman.
Hanback, who is from suburban Richmond, remembers going to UVa games with his father and uncles when he was a kid.
Many of his relatives were on hand Friday when fellow defensive lineman Mandy Alonso sacked Virginia Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker and forced a fumble that Hanback recovered in the end zone.
They were the last points recorded in the Cavaliers’ 39-30 win over the Hokies.
In 2016, Hanback had scored a touchdown when he recovered a fumble at Duke.
“This means the world to me,” Hanback said. “The last time we beat Virginia Tech, I was 7 years old. Now, I’m 23.”
The Hokies had won 15 consecutive games in the rivalry before Friday.
“To be on the team that [ended] the streak, it was the best feeling in the world.”
It appeared that the victory for Virginia was bigger for Hanback than recovering the fumble scoring a touchdown.
“Just like the last one, I didn’t do anything,” said Hanback, listed at 6 foot 4 and 300 pounds. “I just fell on it.”
He is one of the few players who remain from Mike London’s final season as head coach in 2015.
Hanback said he was not at the last Tech-UVa game won by the Cavaliers, 35-21, in 2003.
“I was actually at a friend’s house,” he said. “They were Tech fans. They’re probably not too happy right now but it’s OK.
“Fans who have been fans for longer than I have were coming up to me [after the game] and saying, ‘Thank you.’ ”
By the numbers
• Virginia (9-3, 6-2) has won nine games for the first time since 2007. It was the eighth time in school history that UVa has had nine games or more.
• It was the third time this season and fifth time in two years that Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins has passed for at least 300 yards and rushed for more than 100 yards in a game.
• Joe Reed became the sixth player in FBX to top 3,000 yards in career kickoff returns. He is the only player in FBS history to have at least 3,000 yards and a return average of 28 yards or more.
Virginia finished the season with a 7-0 home record, its first undefeated season at home since 1998.
• UVa head coach Bronco Mendenhall was called upon to “break the rock,” a tradition after victories.