Virginia Tech–West Virginia football rivalry

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Virginia Tech–West Virginia football rivalry
VT logo.svg West Virginia Flying WV logo.svg
Virginia Tech Hokies West Virginia Mountaineers

Total meetings 51
Series record West Virginia leads, 28–22–1
First meeting November 16, 1912
Last meeting October 1, 2005
Next meeting September 2, 2017
Trophy Black Diamond Trophy

The Virginia Tech–West Virginia football rivalry was an American college football rivalry between the Virginia Tech Hokies and West Virginia Mountaineers. They met 51 times between 1912 and 2005. The two teams played as conference foes from 1991–2003 as members of the Big East Conference (1979–2013). They met every year from 1973–2005. The Black Diamond Trophy was the trophy that annually went to the winner of the game. It was introduced in 1997 and was meant to symbolize the Appalachian region’s rich coal heritage (the phrase "black diamond" is often used as a term for coal.)

Virginia Tech held the trophy in 6 of the 9 years in which it was contested, but West Virginia leads the series 28–22–1. The last game was played on October 1, 2005, in Morgantown, West Virginia. Virginia Tech won 34–17.

Since the 2006 season, neither school has the other listed on their schedule. The future of the Black Diamond Trophy was uncertain following both schools' move from the Big East.

On July 3, 2013, the schools announced that the series would resume with a two-game series starting in 2021.[1] However on July 15, 2014 the two schools announced a neutral site game at FedEx field in Landover, Maryland will be played on September 2, 2017. [2]

History[edit]

Early games[edit]

The first game took place in 1912, but they started playing consecutively in 1973. When head coach Frank Beamer began leading the Hokies to success in the 1990s, the rivalry soon elevated.

The first big game of the rivalry came in 1974. Both teams were wrapping up losing seasons in Blacksburg, but neither thought the game would be so hard fought. Former West Virginia head coach Bobby Bowden even received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against him for arguing a personal foul that cost the Mountaineers 30 yards. The game featured a 99-yard interception return and an 85-yard touchdown run for Artie Owens and the Mountaineers. The Hokies had two chances to hit a game-winning field goal, after a penalty on West Virginia, but missed both and lost 22–21. Only a year later, West Virginia picked up a hard-fought 10–7 win which ended with a Mountaineer game-winning field goal.

In 1979, West Virginia capped one of the greatest comebacks in the rivalry's history. Down 23–6 at halftime, the Mountaineers rallied behind quarterback Oliver Luck and his four second-half touchdowns to pull out a 34–23 come-from-behind victory.

1980s[edit]

After West Virginia pulled off the great comeback in 1979, the Hokies up-ended new head coach Don Nehlen at West Virginia. The Hokies, who eventually made it to the Peach Bowl, thrashed the legendary coach's team 34–11. Virginia Tech runningback Cyrus Lawrence ran for 173 yards, the most ever by a Virginia Tech back in the series. A defensive struggle in 1984 also highlighted the early 80s contests. The game was won by the Mountaineers 14–7, despite being outgained 339–240 by Virginia Tech. The '84 contest marked the first time that both teams made a bowl as well: West Virginia the Bluebonnet Bowl and Virginia Tech the Independence Bowl.

The second longest win streak in the series by the Mountaineers (WVU won seven in a row from 1915 to 1958 and won five in a row from 1981 to 1985), ended in 1986. The last win in that streak, was a 24–9 win by the Mountaineers.

In 1988, en route to the first undefeated season in school history, West Virginia won against the Hokies 22–10. In the hardest game for the Mountaineers in that season, West Virginia battled six turnovers and 13 penalties to win. Former head coach Don Nehlen said about playing in Blacksburg, “Playing here is like airplane landings – any one you can walk away from is a good one.” The following year, 1989, West Virginia lost a dramatic game to the Hokies, 12–10. The win was the first for Virginia Tech in Morgantown since 1967 and the first time that the Hokies defeated a ranked Mountaineer team who was coming off of the undefeated '88 season.

1990s[edit]

In 1991, Virginia Tech overcame the odds to beat West Virginia 20–14. Heavy rain, a 50-minute lightning delay, and a late offensive surge by the Mountaineers threatened Virginia Tech's win. But when the Mountaineers fumbled on a one-yard line handoff with 16 seconds left in the game, the Hokies came away with the win.

West Virginia handed the Hokies payback for the '91 contest in 1993, when they again ended the season undefeated. The Mountaineers pulled out a 14–13 win, despite five turnovers and a late Virginia Tech field goal attempt (which sailed wide right). Head coach Frank Beamer, on the hot seat, saved his job by leading the Hokies to the Independence Bowl. The 1994 game was the first to be televised by ESPN. The game was a 34–6 win for the #14-ranked Hokies and began a winning span of three years by a combined score of 92–20.

In 1997, West Virginia ended Virginia Tech's three-year winning streak in front of 64,000 fans and a CBS television audience (the first of the series). The Mountaineers won 30–17 behind Amos Zereoue's 153 rushing yards and Marc Bulger's passing and rushing touchdowns.

One of the greatest wins in the series by the Hokies came in 1999. With Marc Bulger out for the Mountaineers, and freshman sensation Michael Vick at quarterback for the Hokies, Virginia Tech won 22–20 in dramatic fashion. West Virginia scored the go-ahead touchdown to put them up 20–19 with 1:15 left to play. However, Vick led the Hokies on a dramatic drive, highlighted by a key 26-yard scramble down the sideline when it appeared Vick would be tackled. Shayne Graham then hit the game-winning 44-yard field goal to preserve Virginia Tech's undefeated season.

2000s[edit]

The following season after Michael Vick's dramatic comeback for the Hokies, Virginia Tech again came back to beat West Virginia. After leading 14–7 in the third quarter, the Mountaineers collapsed. Andre Davis, Tech's speedy receiver, scored on a 30-yard reverse, a 64-yard pass and a 76-yard punt return in the span of six minutes to lead the Hokies to a 48–20 victory. 41 of Tech's 48 points came in the second half, which was a school record.

In 2003, West Virginia recorded one of the greatest upsets in school history against the Hokies. The #3 Hokies came into Morgantown and were upset by the Mountaineers 28–7. The Hokies had beaten Syracuse 51–7 previously, while West Virginia was only 2–4. The game featured a 93-yard pass by Rasheed Marshall to give the Mountaineers a 21–7 lead. Marshall also scored the last touchdown on a four-yard run. Head coach of the Mountaineers, Rich Rodriguez, said, “That may have been the most electric crowd that I’ve seen since I’ve been back here. My wife said everybody stood up and yelled from the start until the finish of that game.”

In 2004, the Hokies got revenge on the Mountaineers for their upset the season before. The #6-ranked Mountaineers lost 19–13 in Blacksburg to a key field goal block that was taken back 74 yards to give the Hokies a 13–0 lead. The last game of the rivalry came in 2005, when Virginia Tech, led by Marcus Vick, dominated the Mountaineers 34–17 and became the only team to top West Virginia in the 2005 season.

Leading up to their 2012 game against James Madison at FedEx Field West Virginia University Athletic Director Oliver Luck indicated a similar neutral site meeting be possible between West Virginia and Virginia Tech, "In my discussions with (Athletic Director) Jim Weaver, our only opportunity to play a Virginia Tech might be this kind of game (referring to their game against James Madison) because they are not really interested in a home-and-home," Luck said. "It's less of a commitment."[3]

In May 2013, WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck stated with the implementation of a College Football Playoff replacing the Bowl Championship Series in regards scheduling out-of conference opponents:

“I would love to get Pitt back on the schedule, I would love to get (Virginia) Tech back on the schedule, I would to get UVa back on the schedule, another school that we used to play a lot, and even Penn State,” Luck said. “Is that possible? Well, it takes two to tango, but I think the good news is we will see some stronger non-conference schedules as we go forward.”[4]

On July 3, 2013 the two schools announced that the series would resume starting in 2021 with a 2-year, home-and-home series, beginning on September 18, 2021 in Morgantown and concluding the next year on September 24, 2022 in Blacksburg.[5]

On July 15, 2014 the two schools announced that a neutral site game at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland will be played on September 2, 2017. [6]

Game results[edit]

Virginia Tech victories are shaded ██ maroon. West Virginia victories are shaded ██ blue. Ties are white.

Date Site Winning team Losing team Series
November 16, 1912 Blacksburg, VA Virginia Tech 41 West Virginia 0 Virginia Tech 1–0
November 13, 1915 Morgantown, WV West Virginia 19 Virginia Tech 0 Tie 1–1
October 14, 1916 Charleston, WV West Virginia 20 Virginia Tech 0 West Virginia 2–1
November 10, 1917 Huntington, WV West Virginia 27 Virginia Tech 3 West Virginia 3–1
November 15, 1952 Morgantown, WV West Virginia 27 Virginia Tech 7 West Virginia 4–1
November 7, 1953 Bluefield, WV #7 West Virginia 12 Virginia Tech 7 West Virginia 5–1
September 28, 1957 Morgantown, WV West Virginia 14 Virginia Tech 0 West Virginia 6–1
October 25, 1958 Richmond, VA West Virginia 21 Virginia Tech 20 West Virginia 7–1
November 14, 1959 Morgantown, WV Virginia Tech 12 West Virginia 0 West Virginia 7–2
September 24, 1960 Richmond, VA Virginia Tech 15 West Virginia 0 West Virginia 7–3
October 7, 1961 Morgantown, WV West Virginia 28 Virginia Tech 0 West Virginia 8–3
September 29, 1962 Richmond, VA West Virginia 14 Virginia Tech 0 West Virginia 9–3
November 16, 1963 Morgantown, WV Virginia Tech 28 West Virginia 3 West Virginia 9–4
October 17, 1964 Blacksburg, VA West Virginia 23 Virginia Tech 10 West Virginia 10–4
November 6, 1965 Morgantown, WV West Virginia 31 Virginia Tech 22 West Virginia 11–4
October 1, 1966 Blacksburg, VA Virginia Tech 13 West Virginia 13 West Virginia 11–4–1
October 28, 1967 Morgantown, WV Virginia Tech 20 West Virginia 7 West Virginia 11–5–1
October 26, 1968 Blacksburg, VA Virginia Tech 27 West Virginia 12 West Virginia 11–6–1
September 22, 1973 Morgantown, WV West Virginia 24 Virginia Tech 10 West Virginia 12–6–1
November 23, 1974 Blacksburg, VA West Virginia 22 Virginia Tech 21 West Virginia 13–6–1
October 25, 1975 Morgantown, WV West Virginia 10 Virginia Tech 7 West Virginia 14–6–1
October 30, 1976 Blacksburg, VA Virginia Tech 24 Virginia Tech 7 West Virginia 14–7–1
November 12, 1977 Morgantown, WV West Virginia 20 Virginia Tech 14 West Virginia 15–7–1
October 14, 1978 Blacksburg, VA Virginia Tech 16 West Virginia 3 West Virginia 15–8–1
November 3, 1979 Morgantown, WV West Virginia 34 Virginia Tech 23 West Virginia 16–8–1
November 1, 1980 Blacksburg, VA Virginia Tech 34 West Virginia 11 West Virginia 16–9–1
October 17, 1981 Morgantown, WV West Virginia 27 Virginia Tech 6 West Virginia 17–9–1
October 16, 1982 Blacksburg, VA #13 West Virginia 16 Virginia Tech 6 West Virginia 18–9–1
October 15, 1983 Morgantown, WV #4 West Virginia 13 Virginia Tech 0 West Virginia 19–9–1
September 15, 1984 Blacksburg, VA West Virginia 14 Virginia Tech 7 West Virginia 20–9–1
October 5, 1985 Morgantown, WV West Virginia 24 Virginia Tech 9 West Virginia 21–9–1
October 4, 1986 Blacksburg, VA Virginia Tech 13 West Virginia 7 West Virginia 21–10–1
November 7, 1987 Morgantown, WV West Virginia 28 Virginia Tech 16 West Virginia 22–10–1
October 1, 1988 Blacksburg, VA #7 West Virginia 22 Virginia Tech 10 West Virginia 23–10–1
October 7, 1989 Morgantown, WV Virginia Tech 12 #9 West Virginia 10 West Virginia 23–11–1
October 6, 1990 Blacksburg, VA Virginia Tech 26 West Virginia 21 West Virginia 23–12–1
October 5, 1991 Morgantown, WV Virginia Tech 20 West Virginia 14 West Virginia 23–13–1
September 26, 1992 Blacksburg, VA West Virginia 16 Virginia Tech 7 West Virginia 24–13–1
October 2, 1993 Morgantown, WV #25 West Virginia 14 Virginia Tech 13 West Virginia 25–13–1
September 22, 1994 Blacksburg, VA #14 Virginia Tech 34 West Virginia 6 West Virginia 25–14–1
October 28, 1995 Morgantown, WV Virginia Tech 27 West Virginia 0 West Virginia 25–15–1
November 23, 1996 Blacksburg, VA #17 Virginia Tech 31 #23 West Virginia 14 West Virginia 25–16–1
October 25, 1997 Morgantown, WV #21 West Virginia 30 #19 Virginia Tech 17 West Virginia 26–16–1
October 31, 1998 Blacksburg, VA #20 Virginia Tech 27 #20 West Virginia 13 West Virginia 26–17–1
November 6, 1999 Morgantown, WV #3 Virginia Tech 22 West Virginia 20 West Virginia 26–18–1
October 12, 2000 Blacksburg, VA #3 Virginia Tech 48 West Virginia 20 West Virginia 26–19–1
October 6, 2001 Morgantown, WV #6 Virginia Tech 35 West Virginia 0 West Virginia 26–20–1
November 20, 2002 Blacksburg, VA West Virginia 21 #13 Virginia Tech 18 West Virginia 27–20–1
October 22, 2003 Morgantown, WV West Virginia 28 #3 Virginia Tech 7 West Virginia 28–20–1
October 2, 2004 Blacksburg, VA Virginia Tech 19 #6 West Virginia 13 West Virginia 28–21–1
October 1, 2005 Morgantown, WV #3 Virginia Tech 34 West Virginia 17 West Virginia 28–22–1

References[edit]