Boston College (3-1) won a thrilling 31-30 overtime classic on Saturday against the Pitt Panthers at Alumni Stadium. But now it is time for the team to hit the road again, turn the page and prepare for #23 Virginia Tech (2-1) in the newest chapter in the team’s rivalry.
The Eagles and Hokies have had some memorable moments on the gridiron in the past 30 years. The moments are all engrained in our memories. Quarterback Michael Vick running for 210 yards and three touchdowns, Matt Ryan silencing Lane Stadium in 2007 or the Hokies beating the Eagles for two straight ACC titles. Boston College has won the last two matchups including last year’s season opener, but the Hokies own an 18-10 series edge.
This year, the rivalry enters a new phase. Over the past few years, former defensive coordinator Bud Foster and head coach Frank Beamer both retired. Justin Fuente, the former Memphis head coach has taken over the program with mixed results. This year the Eagles are the team making the shift. Jeff Hafley has taken over for Steve Addazio, and the years of a run heavy attack are gone, replaced by one of the top passing attacks in the conference.
The Hokies have only played three games, the Eagles four. But the two teams already have a pair of common opponents. Both played Duke, with the Eagles winning 26-6, and the Hokies 38-31. The other game was against UNC, who BC lost to 26-22, and the VT lost 56-45. It has been a very tumultuous start for the Hokies, who have had to play multiple games with 20 or more players out due to injury or COVID. Presumed starting quarterback Hendon Hooker only played part of the UNC game, but was incredibly effective scoring three touchdowns. Look for the young QB to start against BC.
What make the Hokies so dangerous? Their second ranked rushing attack, led by Kansas transfer running back Khalil Herbert. Many BC fans will remember him gashing up the Eagles defense with 11 carries for 185 yards and a touchdown in the Jayhawks stunning win in 2019. This year Herbert has been very impressive, rushing for 449 yards, averaging over ten yards per carry, along with five touchdowns.
The defense this year? Not what you expect out of Virginia Tech. Against UNC this past week they allowed 658 yards, and were better against NC State and Duke but still averaged almost 400 yards allowed in the two games.
This game is huge for Boston College. If the Eagles were to win this game, it would give them their first AP ranked win since 2014 (USC) and first ranked road win since 2008 (Florida State). Hafley and his team have already put together a handful of memorable moments. Defeating Virginia Tech would add to that, and put the Eagles in position to become something even bigger this season.
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Photo courtesy of BCEagles.com