Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

November 20, 2012

Hokies need 1 more win — against Virginia

BLACKSBURG, Va. — It has been nearly a decade since anyone at Virginia Tech experienced losing to Virginia. The Hokies don’t expect to start when the teams meet in their traditional regular-season finale.

The Hokies (5-6, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won eight straight and 12 of the last 13 in the series and need to keep that streak going to extend their run of seasons ending at a bowl game to 20.

The Cavaliers (4-7, 2-5) visit Lane Stadium on Saturday.

The Hokies’ postseason destination wouldn’t be their typical fare — they’ve been to five ACC championships in seven seasons, and five BCS bowl games in the eight years they’ve been in the ACC.

But that hardly matters to the team, which just wants to go somewhere. A bowl berth would not only afford the team extra weeks of practice, but keep this team from being the one that ruined the streak.

“I think of it all the time,” freshman tailback J.C. Coleman said Tuesday, noting that another big streak — a nation’s best eight consecutive seasons with 10 or more wins  — already ended this season.

“I don’t want to be part of the team that ends the bowl-winning streak. ... I don’t want to be part of the team that loses to UVa after we beat them, what, eight times in a row? I don’t want to be part of that team or part of the team that doesn’t go to the bowl and everything else. It’s a lot of pressure.”

For a Virginia native like Coleman, of Chesapeake, or linebacker Jack Tyler, of Oakton, it’s bigger because they have been going against many of the opposing players since their youth football days.

“If anything it could be more friendly just because you know them a little more,” said Tyler, the Hokies’ leading tackler said. “But when it gets down to it, both teams want to win. Both teams are going to do whatever it takes to win. Sometimes things get a little physical. I’ve always said, even though you’re playing your friends on the field, it doesn’t matter — you’re on the opposite team and there’s going to be bloodshed.

“It’s one of those games that we all come here to play, and it’s going to be fun.”

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, in his 26th season, has a 16-9 record against Virginia, but was on the losing end more often than not until the winning streak began. He downplayed the significance the result has on the recruiting trail, where the schools often go hard after the same blue-chip players.

“Basically I think kids grow up in this state and they either grow up a Virginia guy or grow up a Virginia Tech guy, for the most part,” Beamer said, echoing a theory espoused by former Virginia coach George Welsh years ago.

“I think there are a few exceptions to that. People choose a program on not particularly one game, but on a season, or seasons or overall history. I think that’s more it,” Beamer said.

Beamer, however, frequently notes the streaks when talking about his program. He isn’t concerned that the Hokies’ less lofty bowl possibilities will impact his team’s desire to win in any way.

“I think our kids understand trying to keep the streak alive,” he said. “I’ve never been to a bad bowl game. ... It’s just natural that this game means a little bit more than your average game.”

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