STUFF THAT STOCKING!
Virginia Tech fans understand the magic of a Blacksburg game day, an
SEC-style experience in ACC country. But every two years, the Hokies enjoy a
special bonus. Without leaving the Commonwealth, they can travel to a different
stadium and see their team play.
Even Hoo-haters must admit Charlottesville is a beautiful destination. My
memories of the state showdown there are of old brick and sturdy trees and
autumn leaves heavy on the ground; the weaving search for parking among the
residential neighborhoods surrounding Scott Stadium; the tension in the air of
playing your longtime rival. It’s a very different feel than a Lane day; I won’t
use the word "quaint," but it’s very old school. It’s an environment
for corduroys over carpenter jeans, bourbon over beer.
It’s reassuring, too, to return every two years and see the Alderman Road
dormitories — you know, those buildings behind the stadium’s grassy north hill
that look like a cluster of Motel 6’s. Seeing the Z Society logo. Sitting in the
East-side upper deck and gazing at the rolling Southwest Mountains in the
distance. Or grabbing a pizza and a sub at Anna’s, just a short walk from the
stadium on Maury.
Count me one of those who miss the old pines that grew beyond that north hill
and flanking the grandstands, removed as part of the stadium renovation. The
place isn’t quite as much fun since they closed it in, but it’s still a cozy
venue, with that grassy hill and the red-brick retaining wall.
Maybe I’m waxing poetic because the place is stocked with fond Hokie
memories. Few things are sweeter than going into your rival’s stadium and
winning on their home turf, and Tech’s done it seven times in the last nine
meetings — including the last three.
Can the Hokies win again in Charlottesville? If so, that would be their 12th
win against UVA in the last 13 meetings. But this year’s game will surely be
much closer than last year’s 37-7 blowout in Lane. The Cavaliers are playing
with great confidence and showed a lot of heart in the comeback win at Florida
And that’s the way it should be. This rivalry is a lot more fun when both
teams are competitive. It’s only the ninth time both schools have been ranked
going into the game. This time the stakes are high: the winner takes the Coastal
Division title and gets to meet Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.
To ramp up for Saturday’s showdown, I’ve ranked Tech’s Top 5 Scott Stadium
games of all time. The criteria included the game’s relevance to the season,
stakes involved, and thrills. Here are the games from which I had to choose:
THE SERIES IN SCOTT
Virginia Tech and Virginia have met in Scott Stadium 29 times since the venue
opened in 1931, with the Hokies holding a 16-10-3 advantage. The schools played
on a neutral field from 1954-63 and 1940-52, and the series took a hiatus from
1967-69. According to Hoos N Hokies by Doug Doughty and Roland Lazenby,
"The Cavaliers claimed they wanted to concentrate on (ACC) conference
games, but there were suspicions Virginia no longer felt it could compete after
losing 12 of 14 games between 1953 and 1966."
- 2009: Hokies 42-13
- 2007: Hokies 33-21
- 2005: Hokies 52-14
- 2003: Hoos 21-35
- 2001: Hokies 31-17
- 1999: Hokies 31-7
- 1997: Hoos 20-34
- 1995: Hokies 36-29
- 1993: Hokies 20-17
- 1991: Hoos 0-38
- 1989: Hoos 25-32
- 1987: Hoos 13-14
- 1985: Hokies 28-10
- 1983: Hokies 48-0
- 1981: Hokies 20-3
- 1979: Hoos 18-20
- 1978: Hoos 7-17
- 1976: Hokies 14-10
- 1974: Hoos 27-28
- 1972: Hoos 20-24
- 1971: Hokies 6-0
- 1966: Hokies 24-7
- 1964: Hoos 17-20
- 1953: Hokies 20-6
- 1939: Hokies 13-0
- 1937: Hokies 14-7
- 1935: Tie 0-0
- 1933: Tie 6-6
- 1931: Tie 0-0
Now for my picks. Let’s stir up the memories:
HOKIES 52, VIRGINIA 14
Nov. 19, 2005
I’ll tell you right up front that my list doesn’t have a game prior to the
1980s on it. What? What’s wrong with you, whipper-snapper? Where’s your memory?
I know, I know. There’s a tendency to proclaim everything that’s happened
lately is the "greatest ever," giving short shrift to the heroes of
the past. But in researching this list, the old games didn’t carry the same
gravitas. As you can see from the list above, Tech only won twice in
Charlottesville in the 1970s and the Hoos were horrible those two years. The
Hokies won in Scott only once in the 1960s, and again the Hoos weren’t very good
and the game wasn’t competitive. Ditto for the game the two teams played in the
venue during the 1950s. If an old-timer wants to make a case for one of the two
1930s wins, have at it; I’ll listen.
with 1981 onward to pick from, for my fifth place spot, I picked 2005. The night
before the game, some Hokie fans snuck into Scott Stadium and spray-painted a
maroon "T" next to the Wahoo’s "V" at midfield, forever
adding to rivalry lore. Tech, which had lost in its last trip to Scott Stadium,
played brilliantly this time. Brandon Ore rushed for 115 yards on 15 carries;
Cedric Humes rushed for 113 on 17 carries; and George Bell gained 74 yards on 12
Virginia was no slouch that year, either, beating No. 4 Florida State 26-21
and Minnesota 34-31 in the Music City Bowl.
HOKIES 20, VIRGINIA 17
Nov. 20, 1993
It had been eight years since Virginia Tech won in Charlottesville, and both
teams were having strong seasons. This was the first time in the rivalry’s
history both teams were nationally ranked going into the game. The Cavaliers
were No. 23 in the Associated Press poll; Tech was No. 25.
While the Hokies had already secured an Independence Bowl bid, the Wahoos
were still playing for a postseason berth. They were tough at home, beating No.
13 North Carolina in Charlottesville earlier in the year. This would be their
only home loss.
Virginia outgained Tech 356-263, but the Hokies made two huge defensive
plays. In the second quarter, true freshman defensive end Cornell Brown knocked
the ball loose from quarterback Symmion Willis at the Virginia 8-yard line.
Defensive tackle Jeff Holland scooped it up and ran it eight yards for a
touchdown. In the third quarter, Tech stopped the Cavaliers on 4th-and-1 from
the Hokie 3-yard line.
Coming off a 2-8-1 year, the program needed every win over a ranked opponent
it could get. The win also marked Frank Beamer’s first as head coach in Scott
Stadium, at the time a significant milestone.
The 20-17 win capped an 8-3 regular season and gave Tech its first road win
over a ranked opponent since 1989, a 12-7 win over WVU in Morgantown. It helped
the Hokies earn their first bowl bid under Beamer and began a run of 18
consecutive bowl bids (and counting).
HOKIES 31, VIRGINIA 7
Oct. 2, 1999
was ranked No. 24 and had won the previous two meetings. Tech was ranked No. 8
and rising behind the mercurial play of redshirt freshman Michael Vick. ESPN2
televised the 6 p.m. game, only the second time since 1989 the showdown wasn’t
played in November.
Vick hit Andre Davis on a 60-yard bomb for Tech’s first score and the rout
was on. After Vick tweaked his ankle, replacement Dave Meyer fumbled the snap at
the 1-yard line or the Hokies could’ve added another score. They led 28-7 at the
No problem, right? Except the year before, the Hokies had blown a 29-7
halftime lead at Lane Stadium to lose 36-32. This season, Corey Moore and
company shut out the Cavaliers in the second half. Shayne Graham added a 48-yard
field goal in the third quarter.
Afterward, Virginia’s Brad Barnes called the Hokies "overrated" and
Noel LaMontagne called them a "big fish in a small pond," referring to
the Big East. Moore had the perfect retort: "Look at the scoreboard. That’s
The win was one of the sweetest in Tech’s undefeated regular season and
helped put the Hokies in the BCS Championship Game.
HOKIES 48, VIRGINIA 0
Nov. 19, 1983
Although Virginia Tech entered the season’s final weekend 8-2, a bowl bid was
anything but assured.
In 1983 there were only 16 bowls; to land a bid you had to be good and you
had to be a draw. Tech, then an independent, did not have the national
reputation it enjoys today, and its bowl opportunities were limited. The Peach
Bowl was its best bet. The Hokies brought a lot of fans to Atlanta in 1980 and
were primed to do so again.
But then the University of North Carolina muddled the picture. In mid-October
UNC was 7-0, ranked No. 3 and appeared headed to a big-time bowl. But after
Virginia beat them 17-14 in Charlottesville on Nov. 12, the Heels had lost three
in a row — and were now available to the Peach. UNC had the leverage with CBS
because of its then-higher national football profile (helped established,
ironically, by Tech coach Bill Dooley, who coached at Carolina from 1967-77).
Carolina officials intimated
that Tech wasn’t a "classy" enough opponent for them; they
agreed to take the Peach Bowl bid — contingent on beating Duke — but only if
Dooley and the Hokies weren’t the opponents.
"We didn’t understand what was going on, to be honest with you,"
defensive lineman Bruce Smith says now. "We thought we had played well
enough to earn a bid. You go 9-2 and don’t go to a bowl game? That was unheard
of. It was frustrating, it was disappointing. We did everything asked of us.
Unfortunately those who ran the show back then didn’t think we were
So the Hokies rolled into Charlottesville believing this would likely be
their bowl game. Here was a chance to beat their state rival — who also
contributed to their woeful bowl situation.
For the first time in 42 years, both teams were assured of finishing with
winning records. The Wahoos (6-4) felt confident after their upset of the Heels.
The weather was sunny and warm, t-shirt weather. The then-largest crowd in UVa
history (44,572) filled Scott Stadium.
Tech’s running backs were called "The Stallions" then, and this was
their signature game. Freshman Maurice Williams averaged 32.3 yards per carry;
Eddie Hunter 11.9. The Hokies rushed for 372 yards and crushed Virginia 48-0.
Tech fans poured onto the bouncy artificial turf, took down the north goalpost,
tried to take it into the Tech locker room, then and paraded it down Rugby Road
Those who weren’t reveling on the Corner gathered around their TVs around the
state to see if Duke (3-7) could upset UNC. The Blue Devils actually led in the
ballgame, but a fumble led to a Heel score and they pulled it out 34-27. Florida
State crushed Carolina 28-3 in a lousy Peach Bowl.
Tech fans couldn’t stay even mildly disappointed. The 48-0 win was the
Hokies’ fourth in a row over UVA, and the most decisive in the 65 meetings
between the rivals. Tech finished 9-2, winning nine games for the second time in
school history and first time since 1905.
HOKIES 36, VIRGINIA 29
Nov. 18, 1995
On his syndicated radio show "Leonard’s Losers" that morning,
Leonard Postero drawled, "The Hokies will be flying into Charlottesville
hopin’ to drop eggs on the Cav-ah-lee-ahs. But George Welsh will have his
anti-aircraft device ready. Lennud’s Loser: Vah-jin-ya Tech."
In one of the biggest clashes ever in the century-old rivalry, the No. 13
Cavaliers entered the game 8-3 and co-champions (with Florida State) of the ACC.
The No. 20 Hokies, 8-2, were co-champions (with Miami) of the Big East.
Virginia had whipped then-No. 2 FSU in Charlottesville on Nov. 2, almost won
at Michigan and at Texas. And the Cavaliers had beaten Tech six of the last
eight meetings. ABC picked up the game, showing it to 19.5% of the nation.
After three quarters, Leonard appeared prophetic despite his odd eggs
reference; Virginia led 29-14. A Jermaine Holmes 10-yard touchdown catch and a
35-yard Atle Larsen field goal cut the lead to six, but the comeback appeared
over with 2:40 left. Officials had just whistled current Tech coach Torrian Gray
for pass interference on tight end Bobby Neely, giving UVA a first down at the
Tech 34-yard line.
At that point most reporters made their way down to the field (including me,
covering the game for the Hokie Huddler). But the Hokies still had all
three timeouts remaining. They used them all and stopped Virginia at the 29-yard
line. Coach George Welsh, noticing that holder Tim Sherman had set up nine yards
deep for the field goal instead of the standard seven, called timeout, giving
more time for Rafael Garcia to think about the 46-yard attempt.
I stood directly behind the south goalposts and saw the kick perfectly.
Garcia didn’t miss it by much, but it was just wide left.
The Hokies had 2:12 to go 71 yards. Quarterback Jim Druckenmiller threw
incomplete on his first three passes, but found Cornelius White for 14 yards on
Druckenmiller completed three of his next four, driving Tech to the UVA 32.
On first down he pump-faked, freezing Cavalier free safety Percy Ellsworth and
cornerback Ronde Barber. Holmes turned his route downfield. Druckenmiller lofted
the pass, Holmes gathered it in, Larsen kicked the extra point to make it 30-29
and bedlam ensued in the Hokie sections of Scott.
But Virginia still had 47 seconds — plenty of time. On the sideline,
defensive tackle Jim Baron said, "I’ll be (bleep-bleeped) if we’re going to
let them score!" Line coach Todd Grantham huddled with his players, barking
instructions. I couldn’t understand a word he said, but he said it really loud.
After two incompletions, quarterback Mike Groh found Tiki Barber twice and
Bryan Owen once, driving to the Tech 40-yard line with six seconds left. Welsh
called timeout. He believed the 57-yard attempt was out of Garcia’s range.
Instead he tried a quick sideline pass to Owen. But Antonio Banks stepped up,
intercepted it and bolted down the sideline.
Virginia trainer Joe Gieck, doing his version of the Hokie Pokie, stuck out
his left leg at the UVA 46-yard line in an attempt to trip him. Unfazed, Banks
strutted into the end zone where Tech fans on the hill engulfed him.
can imagine how both sides felt. The Hokies were ecstatic, pulling a win out
from seeming defeat. They were out-gained 420-319 and had nine fewer first
downs. The Hoos just had their hearts ripped out, and if any of them had ever
you some lame story about the North Carolina game meaning more to them
("They’re ACC"), it ended that day.
From the end zone window, waiting for the postgame interviews, I saw UVA fans
pulling Tech fans off the south goalpost, swinging fists and stomping those on
the ground before security personnel rushed in.
The win catapulted the Hokies to No. 11 in the USA Today/Coaches poll, No. 13
in the Associated Press poll and positioned them for the biggest bowl in school
history, the Sugar. Tech’s 28-10 win over national power Texas in that bowl game
laid the foundation for its ensuing national success.
"Beating UVA is my fondest Tech memory, even more than the Sugar
Bowl," offensive guard Chris Malone says. "Beating them on their
field, in a year they were really good, was very satisfying."
Chris Colston: An 11-year veteran of the Virginia Tech athletics
department as editor of The Hokie Huddler, Chris Colston (Marketing
1981) has written four books on Tech football. (Virginia Tech Vault
– 2009; Virginia Tech Sideline – 2003; Turn Up the Wick! –