Home Most memorable UVA wins, losses in Virginia Tech rivalry

Most memorable UVA wins, losses in Virginia Tech rivalry

Chris Graham

Commonwealth ClashThe win down in Blacksburg in 1998 stands out, as does the overtime loss in Lane Stadium in 2018.

I’m limiting this to games that I remember, which means, nothing from the eight-game Virginia winning streak from 1895-1904, the 10-game unbeaten streak (three ties) in favor of Virginia Tech from 1928-1937, the 12-of-15 Tech run in the 1950s and 1960s.

If you’ve got memories from those to share, do it in the comments.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Ugliest loss: Virginia Tech 38, Virginia 13, 1990

1990 was the year that Virginia spent three weeks ranked #1 in the country. (Virginia Tech fans still don’t know that feels, and never will.) Then came the loss to Georgia Tech, the 28-7 blown lead in a loss to Maryland in which Shawn Moore broke his thumb. The 1990 Hokies came into the finale with a 5-5 record, and proceeded to eat Virginia, with Matt Blundin (who threw three INTs) at QB, alive.

Most painful loss: Virginia Tech 34, Virginia 31, 2018

This was the year that The Streak would end. Virginia was 7-4, Tech 5-6, on the verge of their first losing season in 26 years. The Hokies led 14-0 at the half, but Virginia rallied to a 31-24 lead late, needing just one stop. A third-and-10 50/50 ball kept the drive alive, Tech recovered a fumble in the end zone for the tying score, kicked a field goal on the first drive of OT, then recovered a Bryce Perkins fumble. I sat in the press box for a full five minutes before I could move.

Dumbest loss: Virginia Tech 17, Virginia 14, 2012

This is the one where Virginia Tech had a first down at the 13 inside of two minutes to go, and Mike London decided to use his three timeouts not to try to get the ball back for his team, but to use all at once to try to ice the kicker with four seconds left. It didn’t work. Little with the Mike London era worked.

The earth moved: Virginia 39, Virginia Tech 30, 2019

Virginia led at the half, Tech took control in the third quarter, Virginia somehow rallied in the fourth, tied the game and then took the lead with field goals. The Hokies get the ball, and you know what’s going to happen, because it always happened: they were going to come back, basically. Not this time. Mandy Alonso sacked Hendon Hooker in the end zone, Eli Hanback recovered, and I swear I felt Scott Stadium shake back and forth for several seconds.

Distant memory win: Virginia 36, Virginia Tech 32, 1998

We all remember Ahmad Hawkins on his knees in prayer in the end zone with two minutes left. What you might not remember: it was 29-7 Tech at halftime. I was there, and planned to leave if Virginia didn’t score on its first drive of the third quarter. Which happened. Then Aaron Brooks fumbled at the 1, Tech ran the ball forever, threw a pass that Byron Thweatt returned for a TD, and the rally was on. Thomas Jones caught a TD pass staring directly into the sun, and then Brooks connected with Hawkins, who had nothing but green grass in front of him after he hauled the pass in.

Most deflating loss: Virginia Tech 38, Virginia 0, 2011

This was the beginning of the end of the Mike London era, as it turns out. The ‘Hoos came in 8-3 with a chance to win the Coastal, and this was a good team, having won at Florida State and Miami. Virginia Tech dominated from the gun, the ‘Hoos got blitzed by Auburn in the bowl game, and London never had another winning season.

Worst postgame presser: Virginia Tech 23, Virginia 20, 2015

This was Frank Beamer’s last game in the series. That morning, word had leaked that Tech had agreed to terms with Memphis coach Justin Fuente. You can guess how that kind of news leaks. Anyway, after the game, the UVA folks give Beamer the big room to talk with the media, a nice gesture, it’s his last game there and all. Tech AD Whit Babcock takes over, uses the platform to inform the media that he can’t talk about the news that had leaked that morning, and takes his time in doing so. So, that’s what that was all about, the leak and everything. Wanted to brag about his new coach in the rival’s big media room. How’d that work out for you, Bub?

Heard it all the way in Brooklyn: Virginia Tech 24, Virginia 20, 2014

I was in Brooklyn for a holiday basketball tournament at the Barclays Center. UVA had just beaten Rutgers, 45-26, actual score. The last few minutes, my wife and I had the Tech game on her iPad. UVA had a 20-17 lead, then we went down for postgame interviews. Tony Bennett was delayed getting to us after. Turns out, the media room was next door to the UVA locker room. We came to this realization when we heard a loud roar, though we were flummoxed, because on our iPad, UVA had the ball near midfield. Thirty seconds later, we see Matt Johns streaking into the end zone untouched. Alas, the TD was called back by a penalty. The basketball team was watching the game like we were, but on TV, so they were ahead of us. The ‘Hoos ended up losing, but, cool moment nonetheless.

Quick hits

  • Virginia Tech 33, Virginia 15, 2020: If nobody was there because of COVID, and nobody saw it because it was on ACC Network, did it really happen?
  • Virginia Tech 52, Virginia 10, 2016: Welcome, Bronco.
  • Virginia 35, Virginia Tech 21, 2003: This one snapped a modest four-game Tech winning streak.
  • Virginia Tech 17, Virginia 14, 2008: The Vic Hall QB game.
  • Virginia Tech 10, Virginia 0, 2017: They could have played this game for several days, and that Virginia team wasn’t going to score.

Story by Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].