Virginia Tech and West Virginia renewed their longtime rivalry on Sunday night at FedExField and it was the Hokies that came away with a 31-24 victory and the coveted Black Diamond Trophy.
The meeting was the 52nd between the two schools but the first since 2005.
New Hokies quarterback Josh Jackson passed his first test, throwing for 235 yards, running for 101 and accounting for 2 touchdowns.
Here is what Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said about the win:
• On Jackson’s performance: “He has been good. He’s done what we’ve asked him to do on a consistent basis, and he played really well tonight on a big stage against a tough, hard- nosed football team. I was awfully proud, but more than proud, I was happy for him. He’s worked awfully hard, and he found a way to be really efficient tonight.”
• On how a game like that helps Jackson: “I’m sure he feels good about it. The challenge for him will be we’ve had several weeks to prepare for the West Virginia defense and those looks and checks and all sorts of things. Now, he’s going to have to be able to do it in six days. That will be another step for him in terms of digesting the game plan and getting as comfortable as he was with the game plan this week for next week in a much shorter period of time. But I don’t think this can do anything but help him.”
• On West Virginia’s final series: “Just trying to find a way to get a stop. We tried to use our timeouts to give our guys a break. Defensively, we expended so much energy in the first half keeping us in the game. My feeling was we played a lot of football by the middle of the third quarter on defense and finding a way to maintain some drives offensively to help them out. By the end, you just want them to hold on for one more. We’d like to have them in a two-score deficit there, but didn’t and had to find a way to get the job done. But basically, we were trying to space out our timeouts to give them a blow and give us a chance to win in the end.”
• On Virginia Tech’s running game: “I wish everything had been a little more consistent from our whole team. That would be the criticism I’d have offensively and defensively, especially that we needed to be more consistent. I thought McClease gave us a spark. I’m not sure where it was in the game, but it was his first series and he bounced a zone outside and he had a couple of decent runs. He had a nice touchdown run where he kinda ran through an arm tackle there to give us a little burst. I’d like to see us more consistent running the ball.”
• On responding after missing two field goals: “I think our guys have a good understanding that there are going to be ups and downs in a ball game. We talk about it all the time – handling the ebbs and flows of, if the offense scores immediately, it’s the talk that whatever happens out there, we better be ready to go again. It’s the same thing defensively. We need to play the next play. Part of our 1-0 is that’s it’s not just one game. It’s one play, one moment at a time and playing the next play whether the previous one was good or bad. I thought our guys did a good job of that tonight.”
• On former coach Frank Beamer handing him the Black Diamond Trophy: “It’s really special to have Coach Beamer’s support. I think that’s the biggest thing. We’ve talked a lot about Coach and how he’s been with us, and it’s just been fantastic. It’s another example of a man that genuinely wants what is best for Virginia Tech. I’m happy he’s on our side and supportive. I’m thankful for that. It’s another example of the type of man that he is, which is truly a humble, hard-working and kind man.”