After the stunning 1998 home loss to Temple, Virginia Tech righted itself with a 41-0 whipping of Alabama-Birmingham and an always-satisfying 27-13 win over Big East rival West Virginia. Before the game, the obligatory vitriol was captured in the statements of WVU defensive tackle John Thornton (6-3, 300), who told The Roanoke Times, “They just hate Virginia Tech in Morgantown. Anytime you hear a joke, it’s about a Hokie. It’s a big game around here. Believe that…that’s the game I get up for the most. Last year (1997) was the first time we beat them since I’ve been here, so that’s why I like to beat them so much.”
Thornton did acknowledge that Virginia Tech’s offensive line was the best one on the No. 20 Mountaineers’ schedule, topping that of No. 1 Ohio State. “Tech always has the best line I face…always physical,” he said. That’s what I like about it. You don’t have to guess on any play because they’re always going to try to knock you off the ball…they like to hold a lot. Every team in the...
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