Once again, the Virginia Tech football team has a big nationally televised game early in the season. For Hokies fans, these have almost always played out the same way. Whether it’s a blowout against Alabama or a collapse in the most attended college football game of all time against Tennessee, the team always seems to start the season with a nationally televised bad loss. Luckily, in most seasons, the team has been able to overcome a slow start to the season and finish with a good record. This season will likely go the same way.
The season opener at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland will feature the Virginia Tech Hokies reigniting the rivalry against the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Hokies will be trotting out a freshman quarterback and two new receivers. This is less than ideal for a nationally televised game, so expect mistakes. As Hokies fans saw last season against Liberty University and Tennessee, running new head coach Justin Fuente and offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen’s offense requires chemistry. Former quarterback Jerod Evans and running back Travon McMillian had trouble connecting on option plays and wound up either getting tackled for a loss or losing fumbles. The offense wound up scoring 36 against Liberty, but they did not look sharp. This was further highlighted the next week against Tennessee when the mistakes cost them momentum, which they were never able to regain, and eventually led to a collapse. New quarterback Josh Jackson will likely make a few mistakes throughout the game as he is still trying to grasp the offense, and this is to be expected out of WVU’s transfer quarterback, Will Grier, as well.
Besides the mistakes, fans can bet on the defense looking sharp. This defense is one of the most talented units that defensive coordinator Bud Foster has had in the past few seasons, and it’s scary to think of the havoc they will wreak on the Mountaineers’ offense. Experts say that the Mountaineers’ offensive line is not very good, so players like Vinny Mihota and Trevon Hill will have a fun game blowing up the backfield and pressuring Will Grier. Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds will be stars defensively in this game, and cornerbacks Brandon Facyson and Adonis Alexander will do their best to keep options tight for Grier. As the saying goes: nothing can be said to be certain except death, taxes, and Bud Foster putting out a brick wall of a defense.
In the end, it will be a good game. West Virginia and Virginia Tech have a long history of being rivals, and this return to that rivalry will be exciting. Both teams are playing to keep their top 25 ranking, and both teams will come out swinging. It will come down to the better defensive team and the team that avoids mistakes the best. Either way, the Hokies will grow from this game and develop better chemistry as the season goes on. Their youth may be a disadvantage now, but it will be an advantage when the offense has time to learn and grow.