Game Information - October 16, 2014; Heinz Field; 7:30 ESPN
Location - Blacksburg, Virginia
Enrollment - 29,684 (22,824 undergrads; 6,416 postgraduates)
Stadium - Lane Stadium 65,632 capacity.
Notable Alumni - Michael Vick, NFL Quarterback; Gerry Beckley, founding member of the band America; Bruce Smith, NFL Hall of Fame member.
Conference Affiliation - ACC (2004-present)
National Championships - None
Head Coach - Frank Beamer (224-119-2 in 27 seasons, 266-132-4 overall)
Series History - Virginia Tech leads the series 8-5; Virginia Tech won 19-9 in 2013.
The age old question gets revisited; what the heck is a Hokie? The answer remains the same - nobody knows.
Pitt and Virginia Tech renew their rivalry this year on a Thursday night prime time affair in mid-October, in what will be a huge game for both programs. Depending on how the first half of the schedule goes, this could be a huge game for Paul Chryst and the Panthers. Virginia Tech is one of the more consistent programs in not only the ACC, but in the entire country.
Virginia Tech will begin their 28th season with Frank Beamer running the show, as he is the longest tenured active head coach in Division I. The Hokies have built themselves into one of the nation's best programs, and they are often a fixture among college football's elite. The Hokies have suffered a pair of down years the past few seasons, but with the recruiting of Frank Beamer, things can most certainly pick up in a wide open ACC Coastal Division. Beamer will usher in a new quarterback this season, and it appears Brenden Motley could be the man for the job as he won over the top spot in Spring practices. Still, that race is up in the air heading into Fall camp.
Virginia Tech had a rather anemic running game last season, and that is unusual for a team that typically has a strong ground game. Look for maybe a true freshmen to take the job like four-star recruit, Marshawn Williams. Virginia Tech, if you recall, also landed a prized WPIAL back in Shai McKenzie. McKenzie was injured last season, but enrolled early and may be ready to see some action this year. The Hokies have a serious strength in the receiving corps with three guys who caught at least 40 passes for 600 yards return. Willie Byrn, Demitri Knowles, and Joshua Stanford should certainly make life easier for a new starting quarterback.
In typical Virginia Tech fashion, they employed one of the nation's top defenses last season and only surrendered 19.3 points per game, which was good for 11th in the country. Leading the way on that side of the ball would be defensive tackle, Luther Maddy. He posted 13.5 tackles for loss last season, and is definitely one of the top defensive linemen in the league. Another key figure on the D will be Kendall Fuller (yes, another Fuller). He is the fourth brother to go through this program, and likely will join all of his brothers in the NFL someday.
Virginia Tech and Pitt have played in some classic games through the years that date back to the old Big East days. Despite Virginia Tech's better standing as a program, Pitt has always played Beamer tough. Pitt will be given a huge opportunity to shine in this one as it is a national broadcast home game against a big divisional opponent. Nobody knows how this Pitt season will go to this point, but the optimism is there for a big start. If Pitt can come in here with only one loss (or none), you can officially call this the biggest game of the Paul Chryst era. A lot has to happen before now and October 16, but it is nice to dream.