No. 15 Virginia Tech takes fast start to West Virginia

Sports

VVirginia Tech’s last 3-0 start came in 2017.

It has been much longer since West Virginia lost to a nonconference opponent at home.

Hitting the road for the first time in 2021, the No. 15 Hokies look to remain undefeated on Saturday against the Mountaineers at Morgantown, W.V.

Following a 17-10 upset of then-No. 10 North Carolina and 35-14 win over Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Virginia Tech (2-0) plays its initial road game with an eye toward that 2017 team, which opened the season 4-0. The Hokies are just 7-8 away from home since the start of the 2018 season.

West Virginia (1-1) has won six consecutive games at home and is 18-0 against nonconference opponents at Morgantown since a 47-21 loss to then-No. 2 LSU on Sept. 24, 2011. That was also the last time the Mountaineers hosted a ranked nonconference team.

“Incredible challenge for our football team,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said.

“We’re excited for it, we’re excited for the opportunity, the challenge to this team on the road in a hostile environment — and see how we can perform. This is part of why you play the game.”

The Hokies’ early success has been based on a solid defensive effort in which they’ve yielded 703 total yards, recorded nine sacks and four interceptions through two games.

Offensively, Virginia Tech quarterback Braxton Burmeister has thrown for 311 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also leads the team with 94 rushing yards on 17 carries.

Virginia Tech did endure a blow after talented tight end James Mitchell (five receptions, 42 yards, one touchdown in 2021) went down with a season-ending knee injury.

The Hokies have won three in a row over West Virginia, but this is their first meeting since 2017.

The Mountaineers opened their season with a 30-24 loss at Maryland, where they rushed for just 48 yards and committed four turnovers. West Virginia, however, rebounded with an easy 66-0 rout of Long Island University last weekend.

“We sit here at 1-1, and now our chance at redemption, a chance to really make a mark is on Saturday,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said.

“It’s going to be one of the biggest home games we’ve had here in my tenure. … (I look) forward to the opportunity.”

Virginia Tech’s defense looks to continue its strong start while trying to contain multi-threat Mountaineers quarterback Jarret Doege and running back Leddie Brown.

In his fifth collegiate season, Doege has thrown for 536 of his 7,982 career yards in 2021. He threw three of his four touchdowns this season against LIU. Brown, with 1,927 rushing yards over 34 collegiate contests, saw limited work against LIU after running for 73 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries versus Maryland.

Brown’s five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) are tied for second in the country to enter the week.

–Field Level Media

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