Credit to the Virginia Tech players for honesty, they aren’t pretending it’s just another game. This game on Saturday is a bit personal.
“Dang, everything, man,” said [linebacker Tariq] Edwards regarding what stands out to him about last season’s loss at Pittsburgh, which travels Saturday to Lane Stadium to play No. 24 Tech (5-1 overall, 2-0 ACC). “Watching that game, it’s kind of disgusting just to watch it.”
“Sometimes, in football, you don’t want to use the revenge word, but revenge is a must as far as I put it right now.”
Where are the, “that was last year, this is a new season, we’ve moved on,” cliches?
How about Logan Thomas the quarterback who threw three interceptions a year ago against Pitt?
“I think (Pittsburgh is) still kind of a revenge-type game,” said Tech quarterback Logan Thomas, who added Monday he felt like his abdominal strain is about 95 percent healed, but his sprained right foot was still sore. “Obviously, we wanted to get (the UNC game) back from last year, and we want to get (the Pittsburgh game) back from last year. The way they put a beating on us, we want to turn it around, especially since we get another chance to play these guys at home.”
So…. not an aberration.
And one more.
Though Tech has an off week on the schedule just after the Pittsburgh game, Tech’s players insist there’s no chance for a letdown after reeling off five consecutive wins this season. Tech is ranked in The Associated Press poll this week for the first time all season.
The last time Tech was ranked? Heading into last season’s game against Pittsburgh, when the Hokies were No. 13. It’s been a long climb back into the rankings.
“I think all we’re thinking about right now is Pitt,” said Tech wide receiver Willie Byrn, who added he feels about 85 percent healed from a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. “How they kind of whooped on us last year. I don’t think we’re thinking about the bye week. We’re just focused on Saturday and executing so we can get a little bit of revenge.”
“We just want to go out there and try to beat them and give them a little bit of a taste of what they gave us last year.”
Byrn had 0 receptions in last years game.
At least VT head coach Frank Beamer will be able to put it in perspective. After all, the other three losses in this losing streak were ten years ago with a completely different coach and team. Surely one shocking loss last year isn’t making this into something bigger. Right?
“It’s just a team that we’ve had a hard time beating. Whether it’s matchups or whatever, it’s a team that we haven’t had great success against. I think they’re very, very tough.”
You rarely — if ever — see this kind of open talk of revenge. About struggling against a particular team, when it isn’t a rival. Make no mistake, Pitt and VT can’t claim rivalry status. Yet, Pitt is in their head. Weird.
If Pitt wants to win this game on Saturday, they have to strike first and have the Hokies become self-fulfilling in what happens in the game.