Go Tech Go: The Inside Story Behind the Rise of VT Football, Part 9

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The 1981 Peach Bowl ticket stub.
The 1981 Peach Bowl ticket stub.

Against the Canes, Hokies not quite able

Thirty-four years ago today – January 2, 1981 – Virginia Tech faced No. 18 Miami in the 13th Annual Peach Bowl. Stoked by their first bowl bid since 1968, 14,000 Hokie fans traveled to Atlanta – an early indication that, when engaged, the Virginia Tech fan base was willing to travel to bowl destinations in great and enthusiastic numbers.

While the Hokies and Hurricanes now play annually as ACC Coastal Division rivals, they had only met five times prior to their Peach Bowl matchup – all Canes victories. This was coach Howard Schnellenberger’s second season in south Florida, before Miami become known as “The U,” and according to the University of Miami media guide, the 1981 Peach Bowl game “is cited by many as the turning point in the UM football program.”

Three seasons later, in 1983, the Hurricanes would win the first of their five claimed national championships.

(It’s interesting to note that during the Peach Bowl television broadcast, play-by-play announcer Curt Gowdy said Miami wasn’t drawing very well in the Orange Bowl, and school officials wanted to build a 42,000-seat stadium on the Coral Gables campus. It still hasn’t happened.)

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