clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Commonwealth Cup: Hokies vs Wahoos - The Rivalry that was and Could Be Again

It's the last game of the 2015 Season. It's hard to believe that we are here, pretty much where we were last year but this time in Scott Stadium instead of Lane. It's 5 and 6, a bowl bid on the line, and a fancy Cup to keep a grip on. No game is a sure thing, and even though Virginia has had its share of difficulties, this game still means something to lots of people.

It's going to look a lot like 2013 in Scott Stadium Saturday
It's going to look a lot like 2013 in Scott Stadium Saturday
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday at noon, Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Virginia some 144 miles from Blacksburg, oddly enough on exist 118B on I64 (Blacksburg/Virginia Tech is Exit 118B on I81).  I don't know when the trip actually starts, if the busses will leave early on Saturday, or on Friday afternoon with a hotel stay in Hooville.  With a 12:00 kickoff and it being the Thanksgiving holiday weekend I'd opt to do the hotel and have everyone up and moving on a fixed morning schedule of final walk through work breakfast, and study.

This game means more than most folks would like to admit.  It really shouldn't mean that much because UVa hasn't put a consistent winner on the field in almost a decade, now.  I don't know if it's lack of trying since it certainly doesn't lack the talent.  Virginia seems to do pretty well for itself in its recruiting rounds.  If it's the coaching, game planning, or some level of ambivalence to football at the institution, I don't know.  Virginia shouldn't struggle this much, and the game should be a good deal more difficult than it has been, recently.  They have played us close, but we haven't been in real danger or lost for the last 11 years.  At some point the rivalry starts to fade when that happens.

EXCEPT, this year and last year we have something hinging on winning the game.  We shouldn't, but we do.  This year, we have bowl eligibility at stake.  It means the probability of getting something better in the post season bowl seeding.  There is a really interesting and annoying issue going on this season.  Five and 7 teams are going to get consideration because there are 40 bowls, and there don't look to be 80 winning teams to fill them.  This means that win or lose, the Hokies might be eligible, but only winning will guarantee something.  It also means Frank Beamer's last team wins the last regular season contest against a 120 year rival for football supremacy in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Here is the record that Frank Beamer has amassed against UVA during his tenure as Head Hokie:

Hokies and the Wahoos in the Beamer Era

Season

Date

Site

Score

Rank

TV

2014

Fri., Nov 28, 2014

Blacksburg, Va. *

W, 24-20

NR/NR

ESPN

2013

Sat., Nov 30, 2013

Charlottesville, Va. *

W, 16-6

NR/NR

ESPNU

2012

Sat., Nov 24, 2012

Blacksburg, Va. *

W, 17-14

NR/NR

ESPNU

2011

Sat., Nov 26, 2011

Charlottesville, Va. *

W, 38-0

6/24

ABC

2010

Sat., Nov 27, 2010

Blacksburg, Va. *

W, 37-7

13/NR

ACC Net

2009

Sat., Nov 28, 2009

Charlottesville, Va. *

W, 42-13

14/NR

ABC

2008

Sat., Nov 29, 2008

Blacksburg, Va. *

W, 17-14

NR/NR

ESPN

2007

Sat., Nov 24, 2007

Charlottesville, Va. *

W, 33-21

8/16

ESPN2

2006

Sat., Nov 25, 2006

Blacksburg, Va. *

W, 17-0

17/NR

Raycom

2005

Sat., Nov 19, 2005

Charlottesville, Va. *

W, 52-14

7/NR

ESPN

2004

Sat., Nov 27, 2004

Blacksburg, Va. *

W, 24-10

11/16

ABC(r)

2003

Sat., Nov 29, 2003

Charlottesville, Va.

L, 21-35

21/NR

ABC(r)

2002

Sat., Nov 30, 2002

Blacksburg, Va. 1

W, 21-9

22/NR

ESPN

2001

Sat., Nov 17, 2001

Charlottesville, Va.

W, 31-17

18/NR

ESPN

2000

Sat., Nov 25, 2000

Blacksburg, Va.

W, 42-21

6/NR

ESPN

1999

Sat., Oct 2, 1999

Charlottesville, Va.

W, 31-7

8/24

ESPN

1998

Sat., Nov 28, 1998

Blacksburg, Va.

L, 32-36

20/16

ESPN

1997

Sat., Nov 29, 1997

Charlottesville, Va.

L, 20-34

NR/NR

ESPN

1996

Fri., Nov 29, 1996

Blacksburg, Va.

W, 26-9

17/20

CBS

1995

Sat., Nov 18, 1995

Charlottesville, Va.

W, 36-29

20/13

ABC (r)

1994

Sat., Nov 19, 1994

Blacksburg, Va.

L, 23-42

14/16

BIG EAST (r)

1993

Sat., Nov 20, 1993

Charlottesville, Va.

W, 20-17

25/23

J-Pilot(r)

1992

Sat., Nov 21, 1992

Blacksburg, Va.

L, 38-41

NR/NR

1991

Sat., Nov 23, 1991

Charlottesville, Va.

L, 0-38

NR/20

J-Pilot (r)

1990

Sat., Nov 24, 1990

Blacksburg, Va.

W, 38-13

NR/17

ESPN

1989

Sat., Nov 11, 1989

Charlottesville, Va.

L, 25-32

NR/18

1988

Sat., Oct 29, 1988

Blacksburg, Va.

L, 10-16

NR/NR

1987

Sat., Sep 19, 1987

Charlottesville, Va.

L, 13-14

NR/NR

(r) Regional Broadcast

University of Virginia Cavaliers:

Head Coach Mike London isn't the most popular man in Charlottesville's football fan circles, but those circles seem to have gotten ever smaller as the success of UVA wains on the gridiron.  Virginia has always been known as a "Basketball School" in a "Basketball Conference".    Their baseball team is world class and boasts star players at almost every level of professional baseball including the Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman.  Their men's lacrosse team though PR challenged by a recent scandal, is first rate and routinely plays at the top of the NCAA.   The Wahoos seem to be really proud of those teams and their accomplishments.  It's just really interestingly difficult to find dedicated Virginia football fans.  They are out there, but their presence seems to be stealth characteristic.  While there are hundreds of cars sporting Hokie bumper stickers, flags, and window decals the UVA paraphernalia just doesn't stand out all that much.

Maybe it's the team's recent performance, but as the other half of the family feud, it's kind of fun to poke at your brother, cousin, best friend from high school, or pal from church, and give him a rib about the upcoming game.  Lately it seems like the response has been more along the lines of "yeah, so what?  We won the College Baseball World Series, and where were you?"

So how does a coach motivate a team of football players where the school is sort of interested in their play quality and record, and sort of not?  It's not for lack of talent.  Matt Johns is a reasonably good quarterback.  He's pretty big, reasonably athletic, and hits 2/3rds of his passes for an average of a touch over seven yards.  That's not terrible.

Virginia Cavalier schedule and scores:

Sat 9/5

UCLA

@ (13) UCLA

L 16 - 34

Sat 9/12

Notre Dame

(9) Notre Dame

L 27 - 34

Sat 9/19

William & Mary

William & Mary

W 35 - 29

Fri 9/25

Boise St.

Boise St.

L 14 - 56

Sat 10/10

Pittsburgh

@ Pittsburgh

L 19 - 26

Sat 10/17

Syracuse

Syracuse

W 44 - 38

Sat 10/24

N. Carolina

@ N. Carolina

L 13 - 26

Sat 10/31

Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech

W 27 - 21

Sat 11/7

Miami (FL)

@ Miami (FL)

L 21 - 27

Sat 11/14

Louisville

@ Louisville

L 31 - 38

Sat 11/21

Duke

Duke

W 42 - 34

UVA lost some seriously close games; Miami by only 6, Louisville by just 7, Pitt by only 7.  They even hung in with Notre Dame for just a one score loss.  Their 4 and 7 record could just as easily be better than our 5 and 6 record with a few breaks.  Much like I hear from my fellow Hokies regarding our disappointing season of ‘stunningly mediocre', again.

Besides Matt Johns being a decent enough quarterback, UVA has a few running backs and a running game that has put up mearly 1500 yards this season.  If you pull out the fact that Johns is not a running and has far too many rushing attempts (ok, we are talking sack pressure scrambles, here) The Hoos are averaging around a 4 yard schedule on rushing attempts.  Taquan Mizzell is both the leading rusher with 638 yards, and the 2nd leading pass receiver with 670 or so yards and four TD's in the air.  Johns also spreads the ball around with Severin being his number one target.

UVA's offense cannot be legitimately called high powered or high scoring, but it is competent and can produce both yards and points.  It is basically a pro pocket oriented design and if the offensive line can keep Johns on his feet and in the pocket it can be dangerous.  They put up 42 points on Duke.

That brings up the other half of the Cavaliers; the defense.  The Virginia D has not been its bright spot this season.  Even if the offense can put up point totals in the mid 20's to 30's, the defense has been giving up too much, and that seems to be the biggest reason for the critical losses to closely matched teams.

Saturday, the Cavaliers will take to the field at Scott Stadium with a fairly large representative sample of Burnt Orange and Chicago Maroon in the stands.  They are going to be a dangerous opponent.  Our last several contests (since 2011, anyway) have been close run deals.  I see no reason to think that London, with his job potentially on the line, will not pull out all the stops to get that critical win that could get them to a bowl for late December; even if it's the Pogy Bait Pity Bowl.

Passing Statistics

NAME

CMP

ATT

YDS

CMP%

YDS/A

TD

INT

RAT

Matt Johns

229

365

2639

62.7

7.23

19

15

132.4

Connor Brewer

4

8

34

50.0

4.25

0

1

60.7

Olamide Zaccheaus

1

1

15

100.0

15.00

1

0

556.0

Totals

234

375

2688

62.4

7.17

20

16

131.7

Rushing Statistics

NAME

CAR

YDS

AVG

LONG

TD

Taquan Mizzell

153

638

4.2

36

4

Albert Reid

57

257

4.5

71

2

Daniel Hamm

55

247

4.5

53

1

Olamide Zaccheaus

23

212

9.2

35

1

Jordan Ellis

23

73

3.2

39 (TD)

2

Matt Johns

55

28

0.5

13

1

T.J. Thorpe

4

27

6.8

26 (TD)

1

Vincent Croce

1

7

7.0

7

0

Nicholas Conte

1

6

6.0

6

0

Totals

384

1475

3.8

71

12

Receiving Statistics

NAME

REC

YDS

AVG

LONG

TD

Canaan Severin

51

713

14.0

38

7

Taquan Mizzell

68

671

9.9

80 (TD)

4

T.J. Thorpe

20

295

14.8

75 (TD)

1

Olamide Zaccheaus

19

197

10.4

50 (TD)

1

Daniel Hamm

14

174

12.4

48

0

Keeon Johnson

13

173

13.3

42 (TD)

1

Evan Butts

14

157

11.2

28

3

Charlie Hopkins

11

90

8.2

21

2

David Eldridge

2

88

44.0

45

0

Albert Reid

11

42

3.8

12

0

Ryan Santoro

1

34

34.0

34

0

Connor Wingo-Reeves

4

31

7.8

18

1

Andre Levrone

2

16

8.0

10

0

Brendan Marshall

1

5

5.0

5

0

Vincent Croce

2

3

1.5

6

0

Totals

234

2688

11.5

80

20

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Fighting Gobblers:

The Virginia Tech Hokies are just off of a crushingly disappointing overtime loss where many in Hokie Nation are still feeling robbed by more iffy end zone officiating.  Well the old saw is; "if you got down to a blown referee call in overtime you blew more than they did."

Virginia Tech's offense has been maddeningly inconsistent.  There are so many complaints about the play calling from all points of the compass of Hokie Nation that the needle spun off.  The team has talent far above its 5 and 6 record.  For this game, it better have a game plan, a load of flexibility in its execution, and above all it must think down field.  Virginia's defense is not good enough to stop a balanced offensive scheme where effective runs help with play action fakes to gain advantages downfield under the zone and in the seams between coverages.  Brewer can make this a career game if he does a good job of being patient, moving in the pocket , and hitting smart higher percentage passes where he can see the defensive development.  The offense must get its big weapons on the field and into the game.  Bucky, Isaiah, and Cam need to be regularly mentioned by the announcers in the positive sense.  Getting some releases out into the flats for Malleck, Rogers, and McMillian would definitely help to keep the Wahoo Defense off balance.

The Hokie Defense needs to put the kind of pressure on Johns that makes him miss, or misfire to the player wearing the late 1980's throwback helmets and jerseys.  It might be a good time to see more of Shegog, Clark, and Motuapuaka getting good blitz opportunities.

There will be a critical part of this game that will be fought between the ears of each player on the Hokie squad.  Tech has committed fewer penalties of late, but we are still having some difficulties with line discipline, especially the defense jumping offside.  Execution of fundamental football is going to be more important this game.

Passing Statistics

NAME

CMP

ATT

YDS

CMP%

YDS/A

TD

INT

RAT

Brenden Motley

92

164

1155

56.1

7.04

11

7

128.9

Michael Brewer

88

150

1122

58.7

7.48

10

5

136.8

Dwayne Lawson

3

9

51

33.3

5.67

0

0

80.9

Isaiah Ford

1

2

14

50.0

7.00

0

0

108.8

Sam Rogers

1

1

13

100.0

13.00

0

0

209.2

Totals

185

327

2355

56.6

7.20

21

12

130.9

Rushing Statistics

NAME

CAR

YDS

AVG

LONG

TD

Travon McMillian

166

880

5.3

63

5

Brenden Motley

88

224

2.5

22

3

Sam Rogers

51

223

4.4

29

1

Trey Edmunds

45

174

3.9

35

2

J.C. Coleman

40

132

3.3

10

1

Dwayne Lawson

14

55

3.9

10

1

Shai McKenzie

13

50

3.8

11

0

Chris Durkin

4

25

6.3

9

0

Cam Phillips

1

24

24.0

24

0

Isaiah Ford

3

22

7.3

10

0

Greg Stroman

7

12

1.7

6

0

Totals

472

1750

3.7

63

14

Receiving Statistics

NAME

REC

YDS

AVG

LONG

TD

Isaiah Ford

57

816

14.3

61

9

Cam Phillips

43

536

12.5

60

2

Bucky Hodges

33

458

13.9

46

6

Ryan Malleck

18

211

11.7

40

2

Sam Rogers

13

167

12.8

51 (TD)

1

Travon McMillian

12

64

5.3

19

1

Kalvin Cline

3

38

12.7

31

0

Michael Brewer

1

14

14.0

14

0

Brenden Motley

1

13

13.0

13

0

Kevin Asante

1

13

13.0

13

0

J.C. Coleman

1

10

10.0

10

0

Trey Edmunds

1

8

8.0

8

0

Demitri Knowles

1

7

7.0

7

0

Totals

185

2355

12.7

61

21

The Wahoos WIN if the Hokie offense runs like a junker with a flat tire.  Virginia needs to figure out how to get Brewer to make mistakes with the ball in critical situations.  They need to stuff the run, and make the passes predictable.   The Cavalier Offense needs to play good ball control football, score consistent points, and not allow Tech to build up a Defensive head of steam.

The Hokies WIN if we play a solid balanced offensive scheme where we take advantage of Travon McMillian's first rate rushing performance, the improved influence blocking by the offensive line, and passing with a moving pocket using play action and options to keep the Wahoo defense off balance and on its heels.

The Hokie Defense needs to play a game like it played last week, minus the yellow hankies, please.

The Virginia Tech Hokies are a better football team than the Virginia Cavaliers, unfortunately the difference is not great enough to consider this game in anyone's pocket.  The Wahoos can win this one, and the Hokies had better keep that reality in mind.

Next Stop Scott, and then we'll talk other exciting things, and I am not really thinking about the certain Booger Bowl that we are likely to get a bid to attend.

GO HOKIES!!! Win the last Regular Season game for Frank!

Sources:

http://www.hokiesports.com/football/opponents/Virginia

http://espn.go.com/college-football/team/stats/_/id/258/virginia-cavaliers

http://espn.go.com/college-football/team/stats/_/id/259/virginia-tech-hokies