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2021 Opponent Preview: Virginia Tech Hokies

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Virginia Tech will have held the Black Diamond Trophy for 6,195 days when we play

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 03 West Virginia v Virginia Tech Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Series Record: West Virginia leads 28-23-1

Last Meeting: September 3, 2017

Opponent Record 2020: 5-6. The Hokies played a complete ACC Schedule last year, playing 10 teams and compiling a 5-5 record, while losing their one non-conference game, against Liberty. The Hokies started the year 2-1, 3-2, and 4-3 before going into a tailspin in the latter part of the season, losing four straight games before righting the ship against Virginia.

2021 Outlook

The Hokies featured an explosive running game in 2020, one anchored by future NFL running back Khalili Herbert and a transfer of Hendon Hooker. Braxton Burmeister is slated to be the starting quarterback for the Hokies but he has not played a lot in three years at VT and is still untested.

At running back the Hokies are likely to rely on Jalen Holston who averaged 4.7 yards per carry and hope that Raheem Blackshear has recovered from his battle with COVID. Still, at two of the three play-making spots on offense, the Hokies are featuring untested players with starting roles.

At receiver, the Hokies have playmakers in Tre Turner - 34 catches, 529 yards, 3 touchdowns, and Tayvion Robinson - 38 catches, 592 yards, 3 touchdowns. The Hokies staff is excited to pair him with James Mitchell, a 6’-3, 240 pound specimen who has shown the ability to be a threat in the redzone - 4 touchdowns in only 26 catches last year.

Doug Nestor’s departure (and subsequent arrival in Morgantown) leaves the Hokies with four returning offensive linemen. Those four have 93 starts between them and should be the most seasoned group on offense.

When Bud Foster was at Tech, the Hokies were known for their defense. With Foster gone, defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton is tasked with being “the guy to follow THE GUY”. Year One did not go well for Hamilton, pandemic included. Now with a full year under his belt and a training camp underway, the Hokies will look to Clemson transfer Jordan Williams to help anchor their defensive line. The Hokies will play him beside Amare Barno, who made the switch from linebacker to lineman and led the ACC with 16 tackles for loss.

With the defensive line situated, the Hokies hope that Jermaine Waller is healed at cornerback. He’ll be joined by Dorian Strong who had a fairly good freshman season, all things considered while adding in Vanderbilt transfer Tae Daley.

Game Outlook

ESPN has this game in favor of the Mountaineers, 52% - 48% and its easy to see why. The Mountaineers return a senior quarterback and junior running back plus multiple wide receivers. The defense was stout last year and returns multiple starters as well. Still, this is a rivalry game and to be honest, this is the one I want. I was at the 2005 game. I was at the 2017 game. I’m tired of losing to Virginia Tech. If the offense can overcome itself - and the Hokies defense - the good guys should come out on top.