By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
In a season that has seen Virginia Tech lose home games to Duke and Maryland and win at Miami, the Hokies still have hopes of playing for the ACC championship.
Virginia Tech (7-4, 5-3) must beat Virginia (2-9, 0-7) for a 10th straight time on Saturday, and then get help from North Carolina (6-5, 4-3), which will host No. 24 Duke (9-2, 5-2) on the same afternoon.
The long-suffering Blue Devils have already clinched consecutive bowl berths for the first time in program history, and would face No. 2 Florida State (11-0, 8-0) for the ACC championship next Saturday in Charlotte, N.C. with a win over their archrival Tar Heels.
Duke enters having won seven games in a row, while North Carolina has won five straight after starting 1-5, scoring 80 points in last week’s win over Old Dominion.
The Blue Devils, who beat Virginia Tech 13-10 in Blacksburg, started the season at 2-2, but haven’t lost since, including a 28-21 decision last week at Wake Forest.
Virginia Tech, which also lost on the road this season at Boston College, could make its sixth ACC title game in eight years, but the Hokies must defeat Virginia, get help from a North Carolina win over Duke and then get through a complicated tie-breaker that could include as many as five teams tied for first place in the Coastal Division.
In other ACC games involving Coastal Division foes, Miami will play Pittsburgh, while Georgia Tech finished at 5-3 in the league, with a non-conference game slated with Georgia.
The Hokies haven’t lost to Virginia since 2003 when former Honaker star and Virginia tight end Heath Miller had a huge day in a 35-21 win over the Hokies in Charlottesville.
Since then, Virginia Tech has beaten Virginia nine times in a row, twice by three points, including last year on a final second field goal by Cody Journell.
Virginia Tech, which started the season at 6-1, has lost three of its last four games, but will keep alive its bowl streak that will extend to 21 years in a row.