The West Virginia and Virginia Tech football teams are no strangers to each other. The Mountaineers and Hokies have met 51 times in their respective histories, though their competition has been on hiatus since 2005. Still, a rivalry that began in 1912 has a number of significant games on its ledger. Here are just a few (and a tip of the cap to WVUStats.com for the information):
1912: The Hokies and Mountaineers meet for the first time in Blacksburg, Virginia, and it doesn’t go well for the visitors from the north. Tech beats WVU 41-0. WVU wins the next two and it takes 14 quarters before the loser in each game to score a point in those losses. The Mountaineers take games in 1915 (19-0) and 1916 (20-0) and in 1917, WVU wins 27-3 with VPI kicking a field goal in the second quarter of that game.
1980: Don Nehlen’s first game versus Tech as WVU’s head coach doesn’t go as well as he would have hoped. On a windy November day at Lane Stadium, the Mountaineers can gain just 226 yards of total offense in a 34-11 loss. Running back Cyrus Lawrence carries the Hokies with 173 rushing yards and a touchdown. Future WVU athletic director Oliver Luck struggles in the wind, completing 13 of 28 passes for 137 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Nehlen, though, would win his next five games against Virginia Tech.
1987: Frank Beamer’s debut versus WVU went just as well as Nehlen’s versus the Hokies. Despite WVU losing four fumbles, A.B. Brown gashes Tech for 169 yards and a touchdown in the Mountaineers’ 28-16 win. Major Harris threw for just 80 yards but the Mountaineers gained 317 yards on the ground and gained 412 yards in all.
1989: Beamer’s first win over the Mountaineers was a tough one for WVU. West Virginia was ranked ninth in the country when it hosted Virginia Tech.
The Hokies couldn’t cross the goal line, but Mickey Thomas and a stingy defense made that irrelevant. Thomas kicked four field goals in Tech’s 12-10 win. The Hokies took a 9-0 lead before WVU struck back in the third quarter with a Brad Carroll field goal and a Harris touchdown pass to Charlie Fedorco. Thomas’ final field goal came with 3:35 left in the game, and the Mountaineers, who gained just 185 yards of total offense, were bottled up the rest of the way.
1998: This game marked the third straight season WVU and Tech both were ranked entering the game. It would be the last time that happened until this year. In the 1998 contest, No. 21 WVU visited No. 20 Virginia Tech and left on the bad end of a 27-13 final. Amos Zereoue rushed for 148 yards, but Marc Bulger was picked off four times and sacked four more. Three of those interceptions landed in the hands of Ike Charleton.
2002: This game, a 21-18 WVU win at Lane Stadium, was memorable for a few reasons.
An unranked Mountaineer team stunned the 13th-ranked Hokies and held onto the win with two big defensive plays. With less than 4 minutes left and the Hokies facing fourth and goal, WVU linebacker Grant Wiley stuffed Tech running back Lee Suggs and kept him out of the end zone. Then, with 12 seconds left, WVU defensive back Brian King intercepted VPI quarterback Bryan Randall in the end zone to seal the win.
2003: This had to be one of the more satisfying WVU wins over Virginia Tech. The Hokies came into the game ranked third in the country, but that didn’t mean anything to the Mountaineers, who walloped them 28-7.
Tech’s offense could do nothing. Its only score came on a fumble return for a touchdown. Meanwhile, current West Virginia State running backs coach Quincy Wilson rushed for 178 yards and a touchdown in the win. It was the second of seven straight WVU wins that season.
2005: The last game the two teams played before Sunday’s revival was a disappointment for WVU, but it was the only disappointment the Mountaineers faced all season. West Virginia’s 34-17 loss was the only loss the team suffered that year.
That season, West Virginia went 11-1 with a Sugar Bowl win over Georgia. Tech finished 11-2 with a Gator Bowl win over Louisville.