Virginia looks to snap a three-game losing streak and Virginia Tech takes its final shot at bowl eligibility when the rivals collide in Saturday's Commonwealth Cup clash in Charlottesville, Va.
Both programs are trending downward as they meet for the 103rd time, with the visiting Hokies (5-6, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) holding a 59-38-5 lead over the Cavaliers (6-5, 4-3) in a series that began in 1895.
Virginia Tech was ranked No. 15 in mid-September before losing six of its next nine games, a stretch that cost head coach Justin Fuente his job on Nov. 16. The most recent loss in that span came in interim coach J.C. Price's debut at rainy Miami last week by a 38-26 score.
Virginia, which got off to a 6-2 start this season, still had a chance to win the ACC's Coastal Division title before taking a 48-38 defeat at Pitt last week. The Cavaliers have surrendered 182 points in their past four games since pitching a 48-0 shutout against Duke on Oct. 16.
The Hokies have won 20 of the past 22 meetings in the series, including a 33-15 victory in the 2020 season finale for both schools last season in Blacksburg, Va.
That left a bitter taste for the Cavaliers during the offseason, said quarterback Brennan Armstrong.
"We knew we had to do more. We knew we had to get better," said Armstrong, who ranks No. 2 nationally with 404.4 passing yards per game. "It's just a feeling around the whole place, the facilities, the players, the coaches, when you win that game."
Virginia's Dontayvion Wicks needs 43 receiving yards to break Herman Moore's single-season school record of 1,190 yards, set in 1990.
Price is in only his second game as coach, but he is no stranger to the rivalry. He was a four-year starter on the Hokies' defensive line from 1992-95 and earned All-Big East honors as a senior.
"Our book's not finished. What's it going to say?" Price asked his team. "If we can find a way to win ... then maybe this team will be remembered as the most resilient, mentally tough team that Virginia Tech's ever had."
Virginia Tech went to bowl games for 27 consecutive seasons, the nation's longest active streak, before opting out amid the pandemic in 2020 with a 5-6 record.
--Field Level Media