This Friday at 8:00 PM EST at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville the Virginia Tech Hokies take the field against our cross-state rivals the University of Virginia Cavaliers. Few of the big pairings on rivalry weekend seem to ever mention this particular contest. Without too much fuss or bother they move on to bigger audiences with Michigan vs. Ohio State or even Georgia vs Georgia Tech, Texas A&M vs. Texas, etc. You really don’t see or hear much about the Commonwealth Cup. Maybe that’s because the cup hasn’t been heavily contested of late. The Hokies have won the last 13 contests, though some have been really close. The Wahoos have traditionally stepped up from their decade plus torpor to give Tech a real fight.
The history of this family feud, and it is a feud and very much family, goes back to 1895. UVA dominated Tech for 8 of the first 10 contests, and then there was the specter of a VPI win in 1905 which led to recriminations and another controversy, just as the Roosevelt reforms were being implemented. The upshot was that we didn’t resume play until 1923.
The end result has been a 98 game contest for dominance of the Commonwealth’s Division 1A football record. Well, it’s everything, but football was an especially sore spot. The record is 56-37 Hokies, with 8 ties on the board. During the Beamer Era, from 1987 through 2015, Virginia Tech lost 9 contests, four of which were in the first four seasons when Beamer was rebuilding and there were serious problems due to the probation hangover from the recruiting controversy.
The upshot is that we have dominated the W’s between the two teams. I will dispense with the chart for this review since it’s Thanksgiving and there just aren’t a lot of folks who are going to want to look at a 100+ line chart.
What I am going to say is that Tech has some serious challenges for tomorrow’s game. First, our secondary is not in great shape. The loss of Divine Deablo was bad enough, but the steady attrition has been forcing young and inexperienced players to step up. We do have word that Adonis Alexander will be playing. Mook Reynolds is supposedly sick. So Reggie Floyd will have to continue his big push up. Vinny Mihota is out with something pretty serious, evidently. We’ll find out more as word develops.
We will probably see C.J Carrol and Steven Peoples back in action. Having both back makes up for the fact that Sean Savoy looks like he’s out as well. Maybe the team has to put out a plague flag because we keep hearing that people are ill.
This all means that the Hokies are coming to Hooville looking slightly like a MASH unit instead of at football team.
The Wahoos started out with an unusual roar this season. They won 4 of their first 5 contests with a streak pushing out four wins in a row. In the total season mix they fought some big teams to surprisingly harried finishes. They beat Georgia Tech, and their fans are giving us an earful about it. The fact also remains that the Hoo’s engine ran out of gas about half way through, and they have lost 4 of their last five, including a late third quarter collapse to Miami last week. Losing to Miami, this season, seems to be the standard for everyone so the big thing to take from that game is that the Wahoos are going to show up on the field, in their house, loaded for hot revenge. This is a pride game for them and they are unlikely to be an easy contestant.
The Hokies can win if we play all four quarters. If we understand that Kurt Benkert is a classic drop back passer. He has a good downfield passing presence and UVA is going to stretch the field on our shell shocked secondary. That means getting heavy pressure on Benkert, and snuffing the less than impressive run game with as minimal effort as possible. The rule that #LPD needs to remember is that the best incomplete pass is the pass not made. The secondary is going to have to step up.
Tech is favored by 7 according to the betting wise guys with an over/under of 50. So that means they see a relatively lively scoring session but not domination by either team.
On a note of team interest, Jovonn Quillen has been awarded the #25 for the final regular season game.
And from the entire Gobbler Country Staff, please have a wonderful Thanksgiving We’ll see you online for the game at 8:00 PM.