Virginia Tech–West Virginia football rivalry

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Virginia Tech–West Virginia football rivalry
First meeting November 16, 1912
Latest meeting September 3, 2017
Next meeting September 18, 2021
Trophy Black Diamond Trophy
Statistics
Meetings total 52
All-time series West Virginia leads, 28–23–1
Largest victory Virginia Tech, 41–0 (1912)
Longest win streak West Virginia, 7 (1915–58)
Current win streak Virginia Tech, 3 (2004–)

The Virginia Tech–West Virginia football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Virginia Tech Hokies and West Virginia Mountaineers. They met 52 times between 1912 and 2017, every year from 1973 to 2005, and as conference foes from 1991 to 2003 as members of the Big East Conference. The winner of the game receives the Black Diamond Trophy sponsored by Rish Equipment Company, headquartered in Bluefield, West Virginia. 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 six of the nine years in which it was contested, but West Virginia leads the all-time series 28–23–1. The last game was played on September 3, 2017 at FedEx Field in Landover, MD; Virginia Tech won 31–24.

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 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.

In 1988, en route to the first undefeated regular 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, 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 No. 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 Zereoué'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 No. 3 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. However, Vick led the Hokies on a dramatic drive, highlighted by a key 26-yard scramble down the sideline when it appeared he'd run out-of-bounds. Shayne Graham then hit a 44-yard field goal as time expired to preserve Virginia Tech's undefeated season and keep their national title hopes alive. They also moved up a spot, as Minnesota upset then-No. 2 Penn State 24–23 on a 32-yard field goal by Dan Nystrom as time expired in Happy Valley to become bowl-eligible earlier in the day.

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. André 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, the No. 3 Hokies came into Morgantown and were upset 28–7. The Hokies had beaten Syracuse 51–7 previously, while West Virginia was 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. West Virginia head coach 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 for their upset the season before. The No. 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.

In 2005, Virginia Tech, led by Marcus Vick, dominated West Virginia 34–17 and became the only team to top them in the 2005 season.

However, in 2004, Virginia Tech officially left the former Big East Conference and joined the Atlantic Coast Conference. This caused a major break in the rivalry's yearly schedule and forced both schools to plan future matchups between the will of their athletic departments.

2010s[edit]

Leading up to their 2012 game against James Madison at FedExField, then West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck indicated a similar neutral site meeting could 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."[1]

In May 2013, 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."[2]

On July 3, 2013 the two schools announced that the series would resume with a home-and-home series beginning on September 18, 2021 in Morgantown and concluding the next year on September 24, 2022 in Blacksburg.[3] Also, on July 15, 2014, the two schools announced a neutral site game at FedExField in Landover, Maryland will be played on September 3, 2017.[4] The future of the Black Diamond Trophy was uncertain following both schools' move from the Big East. Virginia Tech has confirmed that the Black Diamond Trophy will be up for grabs in the 2017, 2021, and 2022 games.[5]

On September 3, 2017, the two schools once again faced each other in a neutral location after nearly a 12 year hiatus. The highly competitive matchup at FedExField in Landover, Maryland resulted in a No. 21 Virginia Tech victory over No. 22 West Virginia with a score of 31–24.[6]

Game results[edit]

Virginia Tech victories West Virginia victories Tie games
No. Date Location Winner Score
1 November 16, 1912 Blacksburg, Virginia VPI 41–0
2 November 13, 1915 Morgantown, West Virginia West Virginia 19–0
3 October 14, 1916 Charleston, West Virginia West Virginia 20–0
4 November 10, 1917 Huntington, West Virginia West Virginia 27–3
5 November 15, 1952 Morgantown, West Virginia West Virginia 27–7
6 November 7, 1953 Bluefield, West Virginia No. 7 West Virginia 12–7
7 September 28, 1957 Morgantown, West Virginia West Virginia 14–0
8 October 25, 1958 Richmond, Virginia West Virginia 21–20
9 November 14, 1959 Morgantown, West Virginia VPI 12–0
10 September 24, 1960 Richmond, Virginia VPI 15–0
11 October 7, 1961 Morgantown, West Virginia West Virginia 28–0
12 September 29, 1962 Richmond, Virginia West Virginia 14–0
13 November 16, 1963 Morgantown, West Virginia VPI 28–3
14 October 17, 1964 Blacksburg, Virginia West Virginia 23–10
15 November 6, 1965 Morgantown, West Virginia West Virginia 31–22
16 October 1, 1966 Blacksburg, Virginia Tie 13–13
17 October 28, 1967 Morgantown, West Virginia VPI 20–7
18 October 26, 1968 Blacksburg, Virginia VPI 27–12
19 September 22, 1973 Morgantown, West Virginia West Virginia 24–10
20 November 23, 1974 Blacksburg, Virginia West Virginia 22–21
21 October 25, 1975 Morgantown, West Virginia West Virginia 10–7
22 October 30, 1976 Blacksburg, Virginia Virginia Tech 24–7
23 November 12, 1977 Morgantown, West Virginia West Virginia 20–14
24 October 14, 1978 Blacksburg, Virginia Virginia Tech 16–3
25 November 3, 1979 Morgantown, West Virginia West Virginia 34–23
26 November 1, 1980 Blacksburg, Virginia Virginia Tech 34–11
27 October 17, 1981 Morgantown, West Virginia West Virginia 27–6
No. Date Location Winner Score
28 October 16, 1982 Blacksburg, Virginia No. 13 West Virginia 16–6
29 October 15, 1983 Morgantown, West Virginia No. 4 West Virginia 13–0
30 September 15, 1984 Blacksburg, Virginia West Virginia 14–7
31 October 5, 1985 Morgantown, West Virginia West Virginia 24–9
32 October 4, 1986 Blacksburg, Virginia Virginia Tech 13–7
33 November 7, 1987 Morgantown, West Virginia West Virginia 28–16
34 October 1, 1988 Blacksburg, Virginia No. 7 West Virginia 22–10
35 October 7, 1989 Morgantown, West Virginia Virginia Tech 12–10
36 October 6, 1990 Blacksburg, Virginia Virginia Tech 26–21
37 October 5, 1991 Morgantown, West Virginia Virginia Tech 20–14
38 September 26, 1992 Blacksburg, Virginia West Virginia 16–7
39 October 2, 1993 Morgantown, West Virginia No. 25 West Virginia 14–13
40 September 22, 1994 Blacksburg, Virginia No. 14 Virginia Tech 34–6
41 October 28, 1995 Morgantown, West Virginia Virginia Tech 27–0
42 November 23, 1996 Blacksburg, Virginia No. 17 Virginia Tech 31–14
43 October 25, 1997 Morgantown, West Virginia No. 21 West Virginia 30–17
44 October 31, 1998 Blacksburg, Virginia No. 20 Virginia Tech 27–13
45 November 6, 1999 Morgantown, West Virginia No. 3 Virginia Tech 22–20
46 October 12, 2000 Blacksburg, Virginia No. 3 Virginia Tech 48–20
47 October 6, 2001 Morgantown, West Virginia No. 6 Virginia Tech 35–0
48 November 20, 2002 Blacksburg, Virginia West Virginia 21–18
49 October 22, 2003 Morgantown, West Virginia West Virginia 28–7
50 October 2, 2004 Blacksburg, Virginia Virginia Tech 19–13
51 October 1, 2005 Morgantown, West Virginia No. 3 Virginia Tech 34–17
52 September 3, 2017 Landover, Maryland No. 21 Virginia Tech 31–24
Series: West Virginia leads 28–23–1

References[edit]