BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The Hokies vividly remember how last year’s game against Virginia ended in Charlottesville. “The thing I keep remembering is them storming the field…I was in the endzone when they did like on the far end and I had to walk all the way back. All the way through the crowds to get to our locker rooms so that kinda lives with me and it’s kinda stuck in my head so, like I said, we had a bad taste in our mouths,” said Virginia Tech tight end James Mitchell. The loss snapped Virginia Tech’s 15-game winning streak against its commonwealth rival.
Now, the Hokies look to bring the cup back to Blacksburg. “When Coach Fuente brings it up in a team meeting, he shows us examples of how they did play harder than us last year. It enrages us, we were disappointed that that we let that happen last year and as a senior this year, it’s not going to happen under my watch,” said Virginia Tech defensive lineman Jarrod Hewitt. A win wouldn’t just restore bragging rights but also end the struggles of a team that’s lost four in a row this season. “We’re in a position where we can’t say what if this would’ve happened, what if that would’ve happened. Although we’re sitting at where our record is now, it’s not what we wanted but, we’re playing UVA this week and if we can go out and beat them…it’s not the year we wanted at all but at least it’ll be a good note to end on,” said Hewitt.
The Hokies also looking to restore confidence in head coach Justin Fuente as the team is set to finish with a losing record in the regular season for the first time since 1992. “We say every game is the same but this is a rivalry game. I don’t know if I’ve ever said that it’s just another week. We’ll have to play critically sound and hard and smart in all three phases of the game to give ourselves a chance to go try and get that thing back,” said Fuente. Justin Fuente said instead of the players playing for him, he’d rather have them play for each other. And for the seniors who will be honored prior to kickoff on Saturday, it’s worth noting, Tech hasn’t lost a Commonwealth Clash at home since 1998.