Saturday's game will be the 14th football meeting between Virginia Tech and Duke University. Duke leads the series, 7-6, but Tech has won the last five meetings, including a 45-0 win at Durham last season. Tech is 2-2 against Duke at Durham, 3-0 at Blacksburg and 1-5 at neutral sites.
A New Power in the ACC
Since joining the new ACC two seasons ago, the Hokies have proved their themselves among the conference elite in each of the past two seasons - winning the league title in 2004 and claiming the Coastal Division crown in 2005 before falling in the ACC Championship game. Tech has won all nine of its Atlantic Coast Conference road games since joining the league in 2004.
Under head coach Frank Beamer (148-79-2), Virginia Tech football has enjoyed unprecedented success with 13 consecutive bowl appearances, an ACC title, an ACC Coastal Division crown, three BIG EAST Conference titles and a trip to the national championship game. Only active coaches Joe Paterno, Penn State (40 years), Bobby Bowden, Florida State (30) and Fisher DeBerry, Air Force (22); have been at their respective schools longer.
Beamer Ball A Big Test For Duke's D
Tech has scored in a school record 137 straight football games, beginning with a 13-7 win over the University of Miami on Sept. 23, 1995. The streak began after a 16-0 loss to Cincinnati at Lane Stadium in 1995. During its current streak, Tech has scored 13 or more points in all but four games.
The Hokies have also won 23 straight games when scoring first. The last time Tech scored first and lost was against West Virginia in 2002.
Each of Tech‘s last eight teams is ranked among the school's top 10 highest scoring teams. During that time, a player at every position on the defensive unit has produced at least one touchdown. And 25 different players have scored touchdowns while playing on Tech's special teams. Altogether, the defense and special teams have combined for 102 TDs since Beamer arrived in 1987, including 85 in Tech's last 152 games.
Gotta Run While Stopping The Run To Beat The Hokies
Under head coach Frank Beamer (229 games), the Hokies are 131-27-2 when outrushing their opponents, 16-52 when being outrushed and 1-0 when the rushing total is even. Since 1999, the Hokies are 66-5 when outrushing their opponent and 5-14 when being outrushed.
The ground game is led by redshirt sophomore Branden Ore who rushed for 647 yards and six TDs on 109 carries last season, including 146 yards against Marshall. He went over the 100-yard mark three times — Marshall, Virginia and North Carolina. In the opener against I-AA Northeastern, he accounted for 135 all-purpose yards (54 rush, 81 catch) and two scores, including a 55-yard touchdown catch and run on a screen play. He rushed for 111 yards and three scores against UNC, earning ACC Offensive Back of the Week honors.
Young Players On the Field
Duke isn't the only program with a young players seeing the field. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Sean Glennon has the two full seasons of experience in the Tech system, playing in 2004 behind Bryan Randall. He redshirted last season. He played in four games as a true freshman, completing 8-of-11 passes — including one to himself— for 137 yards and two scores. For the year, he's completed 25-of-35 passing for 288 yards and three touchdowns, including scores of 54 and 55 yards.
Overall the Hokies return just nine starters from last year's 11-2 Gator Bowl Championship squad that beat the Blue Devils 45-0 in Wallace Wade. Last season, CB Victor Harris was the only true freshman to play for the Hokies. Already this season, five true freshmen have seen the field, taking away any chance of a redshirt.
A Big Test For Duke's offense
Virginia Tech has led the ACC in scoring defense each of the last two seasons and led the nation in total defense last year. However, six starters from that unit began the summer in NFL camps. That group held Duke just five total first downs in last season's meeting.
Better Be Tight On Special Teams
The Hokiess' tradition for blocking kicks is another part of BeamerBall. It was carried to new heights in 1998 with 10 blocks during the regular season and two more in the Hokies' Music City Bowl game against Alabama. Tech now has 111 blocks in Frank Beamer's 229 games as the head coach. The Hokies have blocked 56 punts (15 for TDs), 34 field goals and 21 extra points.
What On Earth Is A Hokie?
The answer leads all the way back to 1896 when Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College changed its name to Virginia Polytechnic Institute. With the change came the necessity for writing a new cheer and a contest for such a purpose was held by the student body. Senior O.M. Stull won first prize for his "Old Hokie" yell which still is used today. Later, when asked if "Hokie" had any special meaning, Stull explained the words he used had no hidden or symbolic meaning, but had been thought up in an effort to get attention. Hokie soon became a nickname for all Tech teams.