CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In his first season as Virginia Tech's coach, Justin Fuente wanted to help put the Hokies back on the map.
After a first-half detour in the Belk Bowl, he might have done just that.
Quarterback Jerod Evans threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more -- all in the second half -- as No. 18 Virginia Tech overcame a 24-point deficit to defeat Arkansas 35-24 on Thursday at Bank of America Stadium.
"For the seniors to handle the transition (in coaching staffs) the way they did, they did a fantastic job leading," Fuente said. "They desperately wanted to get Virginia Tech back in the ACC (picture), on the national scene and get to 10 wins."
Four touchdowns in less than 18 minutes to open the second half turned the tide as Virginia Tech (10-4) secured its first 10-win season since 2011.
"Playing well was important to (our players) and we didn't do it in the first half," Fuente said. "They regrouped and found a way to get it done. The only want to do anything about it is to go out and take one step at a time."
It was the largest comeback for Virginia Tech in at least 30 years.
Fuente, who's the ACC Coach of the Year, took over after legendary coach Frank Beamer retired.
Hokies junior receiver Cam Phillips was named Most Valuable Player with six receptions for 115 yards.
"The seniors led us," Phillips said. "That's pretty much how it was all year."
It was the fourth time this season that Virginia Tech didn't allow a second-half point.
Arkansas (7-6) committed four second-half turnovers, ending the season with three losses in its last four outings.
"We've got to be able to withstand the momentum swings," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. "I've never seen everything turn so quickly against us in all three phases."
Running back Travon McMillian's 6-yard run with 12:03 remaining put the Hokies ahead for the first time.
Virginia Tech didn't stop there because defensive back Terrell Edmunds' interception gave the Hokies another short field. This time they needed two plays to go eight yards, with Evans walking in from 1 yard out with 6:41 left.
Evans ended up with 243 yards in the air on 21-for-33 passing. He also rushed for 87 yards on 22 carries.
Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen was nearly perfect in the first half and then threw three second-half interceptions. He finished 18 for 31 for 278 yards, but was 5 of 15 for 63 yards in the second half.
"The second half has been our melting point all year," Bielema said. "I'm very disappointed we couldn't close this thing out."
It was a dramatic turnaround, denying the Razorbacks three consecutive bowl victories for the first time.
The Hokies were back in business with three third-quarter touchdowns off three turnovers.
A fumble on Arkansas' third play of the half result in Virginia Tech's three-play drive of 30 yards. Evans ran four yards for the touchdown.
Virginia Tech linebacker Anthony Shegog's interception led to Evans' 3-yard touchdown pass to fullback Sam Rogers, pulling the Hokies to within 24-14 with 4:18 to play in the third quarter. That drive was for 44 yards.
Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds' interception on the next Arkansas snap made it even easier for the Hokies. They scored on an Evans-to-Chris Cunningham pass of 5 yards on the next play. The second and third touchdowns came in an 18-second span.
Arkansas had its way in the first half, building a 24-0 lead.
Allen's 1-yard sneak and his 28-yard pass to tight end Cheyenne O'Grady catapulted the Razorbacks to a 17-0 lead with 21 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Allen threw 12 yards to Keon Hatcher for a touchdown at the 10:05 mark of the second quarter.
It was a messy first half for Virginia Tech. The Hokies fumbled on the first play from scrimmage, but it resulted only in Cole Hedlund's 38-yard field goal.
The Hokies drove to the Arkansas 32 on the next possession but turned it over on downs. That was their best scoring chance of the half until Joey Slye was wide right on a 48-yard field-goal attempt on the last play of the first half.
NOTES: Arkansas senior TE Jeremy Sprinkle was suspended in an announcement made prior to the game. SEC Country reported that Sprinkle engaged in shoplifting from a Belk department store in Charlotte, N.C. He was third on the team in the regular season with 33 receptions. For his career, his 11 touchdowns are the most for an Arkansas tight end. ... Arkansas receiver Drew Morgan was ejected for a flagrant personal foul with 5:44 to play. He made four catches for 75 yards in his final college game. ... This was the first appearance for both teams in Charlotte's bowl, though Virginia Tech has played here in ACC championship games in 2010 and 2011. ... Arkansas gave up 28 or more second-half points in five games this season. ... Arkansas hadn't faced an ACC team since losing to North Carolina in the 1995 CarQuest Bowl in Miami.