Since current head coach Frank Beamer took over at Virginia Tech two decades ago, the team has had their share of historic victories. In the last ten years Beamer has elevated the Hokies national presence into the mainstream and the team has become a staple within the top twenty-five.
In this article we will examine some of Tech’s biggest wins under thier legendary head coach, affectionately known to Hokies fan as the “Beamerball” era.
10. 1998 vs. Alabama – Music City Bowl:
The Hokiescame into the inaugural Music City bowl as five point favorites over the 7-4 Crimson Tide. However, the game itself was never really that close. Quarterback Al Clark scored the games first touchdown with a 43 yard scamper on the opening possession. Three interceptions, two blocked kicks, and a fumble later, the Hokies found themselves on the right end of a 38-7 blow out.
Even though Alabama was a year removed from a losing season, the Hokies still came up big by defeating a prestigious program on national television. The win helped propel Tech to a 1999 top ten preseason ranking and a magical season to follow.
9. 1995 vs Virginia:
In one of the greatest games in the history of these two schools, the Hokies were able to upset the higher ranked Cavaliers in Charlottesville. The win catapulted the Hokies into the Sugar Bowl and their highest ranking ever in the top 25 coaches poll.
The game was a constant back-and-forth effort from both teams that lasted until the fourth quarter when the Hokies finally broke through and scored a go ahead touchdown to put the Hokies up 30-29.
With just one play left, the Cavaliers lined up in the shotgun and threw a short out which was picked off by Antonio Banks and taken to pay-dirt with no time left on the clock. A mob of Hokie fans stormed the field to celebrate what was to date one of the biggest upsets in Coach Beamer's career.
8. 2007 vs. Florida State:
Coming into the 2007 matchup with the Seminoles, most Hokie fans knew that this was their best shot at knocking off FSU; a team they haven’t beat since the 70’s.
After an early FSU field goal the Hokiescame roaring back witha three play, 56 yard drive that ended with a 31 yard strike from TyrodTaylor to Justin Harper for a touchdown. After another stalled drive ended with a Gary Cismesia field goal, the Hokies marched down the field andtook to the air once again to score their second touchdown of the day.
On the next Hokie possession, runninbackBrandon Ore carried the load on an 88 yard drive that ended with a two yard run which put the Hokies up 20-6 at halftime. The third quarter was all FSU as they scored three times resulting in 15 points to take a 21-20 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The resilient Hokies held strong and added 20 unanswered points including a Chris Ellis interception touchdown return as the team beat the Seminoles 40-21.
7. 1999 vs. Syracuse
The 16th ranked Orangemen marched into Blacksburg with a shot at knocking off the undefeated Hokies. Three and a half hours later, Syracuse left town so badly beaten from an ass kicking so bad my grandma felt bad for them.
The Hokies jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to a Shyrone Stith touchdown run and a twenty-six yard fumble return by defensive back Cory Byrd. After a Shayne Graham field goal, Stith added another touchdown run, then Ricky Hall hauled in an eight-yard pass from Michael Vick to put the Hokies up 31-0 at halftime.
The destruction continued in the second half as Andre Davis took an end-around 28 yards for a score andAndre Kendrick added a touchdown on the ground which gave Tech a 45-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter. After another Graham field goal, a Phillip Summers 43 yard interception return, and a recovered fumble in the endzone, the the onslaught was mercifully over with A 62-0 victory for the Hokies. The Orange had been squeezed.
6. 2007 vs. Boston College
Hokie redemption at its finest. After losing to Boston College in a heartbreaker in Lane Stadium earlier in the year, the Hokies needed to redeem the loss and still prove who 2007 ACC top dog would be.
The game did not start the way the Hokieswanted, as the team quickly found themselves on the wrong end of a 10-0 score. The Hokiesanswered as Josh Morgan capped off a 77 yard drive with a touchdown reception from Sean Glennon. On the next BC possession, however, Matt Ryan led a beautiful drive that extended the Eagles lead to nine with five minutes to play. But the tide started turning when Frank Beamer's patented special team's unit blocked the PAT, the ball bounced into the hands of All-American Brandon Flowers, and he returned it for a two point switch-a-roo. Then, with just under a minute to play in the half, Sean Glennonhooked up with Josh Hyman to tie the game at sixteen.
In the second half, Virginia Tech scored 14 unanswered points andnever looked back. With 11 seconds left, Xavier Adibisealed the game with a "to da crib" interception of Matt Ryan as the Hokieswalked away with a 30-16 victory andtheir second ACC Championship.
5. 1989 vs. West Virginia
Quite possibly the biggest upset in Virginia Tech history. The young Hokies founda way to knock off the ninth ranked Mountaineers in Morgantown for the first time since 1967.
QB Cam Young made his first career start for the Hokies on this day. But the bigger story was Heisman hopeful Major Harris, who threw for only 101 yards and two interceptions in this game, and was outplayed by Young and out maneuvered by what would become a VT staple - a confusing and fast VT defense and scheme. The defense was able to hold off a late West Virginia surge to give the Hokies a 12-10 victory.
Many college football analysts call this victory the biggest program elevator for the Hokies, who went on to have their first winning season under third year coach Beamer.
4. 1999 vs Boston College
In the final week of the regular season, the 22nd ranked Boston College Eagles invaded Blacksburg with the hope of being the only team to knock off the undefeated Hokies and keep them from advancing to play in the national championship game.
The Hokies showed they were ready to play on senior day in Blacksburg as Michael Vick and company scorched the Eagles 38-14. The win rocketed Tech into the National Championship game to play Florida State in the Superdome in New Orleans.
The win gave the Hokies their first ever undefeated regular season in school history and their first ever trip to a National Championship game.
3. 2004 vs. Miami
When the Hokies were accepted into the ACC, many Hokie fans couldn’t see Tech winning an ACCchampionship in their first year with the new conference. About two years later many Hokie fans, including myself, nervously sat in front of the television glued to the screen as Tech and perennial ACC powerhouse Miami battled down to the wire in the 2004 version of the ACC championship game.
The game remained scoreless until the second quarter when VT tight end Jeff King scored on a three-yard toss from senior QB Bryan Randall. A few minutes later Miami orchestrated a drive that ended with a Tyrone Moss touchdown run to tie the game up at seven. Heading into halftime, Virginia Tech kicker Brandon Pace drove home a long 45 yard field goal to give Tech the 10-7 lead.
At the midway point of the third quarter, John Peattitefinally answered back witha 23 yard field goal to tie the game again at ten apiece. With just over 11 minutes left to go in regulation, Randall dropped back on first down, fired, and found a wide open Eddie Royal for the go ahead touchdown which turned out to be the final score of the game.
A late interception by Eric Green and a late diving catch by Jeff King gave the Hokies the 16-10 victory and their first ACC Championship.
2. 1995 vs. Texas – The Sugar Bowl
Virginia Tech finished the regular season at 9-2 and brought home their first Big East championship in 1995. This earned them the right to take on the Southwest Conference Champions, the Texas Longhorns in the Sugar bowl.
The game didn’t start off like Coach Beamer and the Hokiesplanned, as they were down 10-0 early on in the second quarter. However, the Hokiesnever gave up as Wide Receiver Brian Still awoke this Virginia Tech team with a 60 yard punt return for a touchdown to shrink the Longhorn lead to three at halftime.
The Tech defense kicked into high gear in the second half as they sacked Texas quarterback James Brown five times and forced him into throwing three interceptions as well. Still continued to shine as he added two more touchdowns and the Hokies rolled the Longhorns 28-10 in their first ever major bowl game.
1. 1999 vs. West Virginia – “The Miracle in Morgantown”
For all Hokie fans that were old enough to remember this game, they will all probably agree that this was probably the biggest win in Virginia Tech history. Maybe it wasn’t listed as that on Sportscenter right after the game but looking back on that season, the Hokies really stepped it up that and managed to stay unbeaten thanks to Michael Vick.
The Hokies came into Morgantownexpecting a pretty certain victory as the Mountaineers were fairly unimpressive as a whole. Tech led 19-7 withfive minutes left until West Virginia scored twice in three minutes to give the Mountaineers a 20-19 lead with just 1:11 left on the clock.
Thats when Vick walked onto the field and went to work. After an incompletion, Vick rolled right, fired down field and found Terrell Parham for a 12 yard pickup, which moved the Hokies to the 29 yard line. Next play Vick rolls the pocket and finds Ricky Hall for nine more yards. Then as the clock runs, Vick drops back as the pocket collapses, he turns and scampers to the right andzooms up the sideline for 26 yards to move the chains to the 36 yard line with23 ticks left on the clock. Next play, Vick finds Ricky Hall again for another short game then spikes the ball with minimal time left on the clock.
Then, cool as ice kicker Shayne Graham walks onto the field and nails the game winning 44 yard field goal. The kick kept the Hokies unbeaten in the 1999 season and the dream season alive.