Virginia vs. Virginia Tech: Top 10 Moments in the History of the Rivalry

Bryan Manning@bdmanning4Featured ColumnistNovember 25, 2013

Virginia vs. Virginia Tech: Top 10 Moments in the History of the Rivalry

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    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    According to Merriam-Webster, a rivalry is defined as "a state or situation in which people or groups are competing with each other."

    When one team wins nine games in a row, along with 13 of 14 over their chief rival, should it still be considered a rivalry? 

    That's the case next weekend when Virginia Tech travels to Charlottesville to end the 2013 regular season against struggling Virginia. The Hokies have dominated the series since 1999 and now hold a 52-37-5 edge all-time over their in-state counterpart. 

    This isn't the same Virginia Tech team that has throttled the Cavs' for years, though. Unfortunately, at 2-9 on the season with eight straight losses, Virginia doesn't look poised to take advantage of the Hokies' inconsistent play.

    Here are the top 10 moments in the history of the battle for the Commonwealth Cup. 

UVa's Early Dominance

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    The Commonwealth Cup
    The Commonwealth CupJason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

    The battle between the state of Virginia's top two football programs began in 1895.

    The Cavaliers won the first eight meetings. In seven of those games, the Hokies were held scoreless.

    VT didn't defeat the Wahoos for the first time until 1905. The series went back and forth until 1947 when UVa shut out the Hokies five more times in a span of six years. 

Aaron Brooks' Comeback Win in 1998

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    Aaron Brooks
    Aaron BrooksThomas Kent-Cooke/Getty Images

    Virginia's senior quarterback, Aaron Brooks, engineered an outstanding comeback in 1998 to give the Cavs a thrilling 36-32 win over the Hokies in Blacksburg.

    Brooks hit receiver Ahmad Hawkins on a 47-yard touchdown pass with two minutes remaining to give Virginia the go-ahead score.

    It was an impressive 93-yard drive for the Hoos, and Brooks finished with 345 yards passing on the day. Both teams entered the game ranked in the Top 20, and the win gave Virginia a berth in the Peach Bowl, while the Hokies settled for an appearance (and win) in the Music City Bowl.

    This contest, along with the 1995 game (more on that later), are two of the best games in the history of the rivalry and featured thrilling finishes.

Beamer's First Win over Virginia

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    Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

    Frank Beamer came to Virginia Tech in 1987. In his first three years, he compiled an overall record of 11-23-1. None of those 11 victories came against the Cavaliers.

    That all changed in 1990 when the Hokies beat UVa 38-13 in Blacksburg. That was the turning point for Beamer at his alma mater.

    Not only was it an impressive victory for the fourth-year coach, but the Cavs, at one point, were ranked No. 1 in the nation in 1990.

    It was Beamer's first of many victories over the Hoos.

The Barber Twins

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    Ronde and Tiki Barber
    Ronde and Tiki BarberDoug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Ronde and Tiki Barber were two of the most successful players in Virginia history. 

    Ronde and Tiki played their high school ball in Roanoke, just less than 45 minutes from Blacksburg, and were a thorn in the Hokies' sides for four years (three for Ronde). 

    Tiki left UVa as the school's all-time leading rusher until Thomas Jones later eclipsed his record.

    Ronde, not to be outdone, was a three-time All-ACC selection at cornerback and is third in school history for career interceptions.

    Both went on to enjoy Hall of Fame caliber NFL careers and left many Hokie fans thinking what could've been.

The End of an Era

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    George Welsh was head coach at the University of Virginia for 19 years. Welsh came to UVa in 1982 and got off to a rough start with a 2-9 record.

    Things progressively got better for Welsh as he built Virginia into a solid program and won 134 games as coach of the Hoos. 

    Welsh left Charlottesville after the 2000 season as the most successful coach in conference history. Bobby Bowden has long since passed him, but UVa has been unable to fill Welsh's massive shoes.

    Since Welsh left his post 13 years ago, the Cavaliers have beaten the Hokies one time. Virginia's inability to replace Welsh has hindered its attempts to effectively challenge the Hokies on an annual basis. 

UVa's Last Win

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    Matt Schaub
    Matt SchaubCraig Jones/Getty Images

    It was way back in 2003 when Virginia last defeated Virginia Tech. Current Houston Texan, Matt Schaub, was UVa's starting quarterback that day and finished with 358 yards passing and two touchdowns in Virginia's 35-21 win over the Hokies.

    The Hokies led 14-7 at halftime, but the Hoos dominated the second half in a game that many UVa followers felt would change the series.

    It didn't. The Hokies have won the the past nine meetings. 

    What was the most interesting aspect of this game? It was the Hokies' last game against Virginia as a nonconference opponent.

Hokies' Rally Falls Short

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    Will Furrer
    Will FurrerDoug Pensinger/Getty Images

    It was 1989, Beamer's third year as head coach of the Hokies. VT entered the game against 18th-ranked Virginia at 5-3-1 on the season.

    It could have been Beamer's signature win, but he was down to his third-string quarterback, Rodd Wooten, in the third quarter.

    Instead of the Hokies folding after being down 24-0, Wooten led a furious rally that came up just short, when he threw an interception with just more than one minute remaining to give the Cavaliers a 32-25 victory.

    Although the Hokies lost the game, they showed a lot of heart by taking a much more talented team down to the wire.

    Beamer got that signature win one year later against the Wahoos.

1992: Highest Scoring Game in Series History

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    Terry Kirby
    Terry KirbyRick Stewart/Getty Images

    After three consecutive seasons of solid improvement, Virginia Tech fell to 2-8-1 in 1992. 

    It was a bad season all around for the Hokies, but they saved their best for last.

    UVa came to Blacksburg on the final day of the 1992 regular season, and the Hokies took the Hoos to the wire before losing 41-38 in what is currently the all-time highest-scoring game between the two longtime rivals.

    The story of that contest was each team's inability to stop the other's running game. The two teams combined for 576 yards, rushing in a battle that would make current defensive coordinator Bud Foster wince. 

    The game featured future NFL running backs Terry Kirby, Charles Way and Vaughn Hebron.

Virginia Tech Enters the ACC

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    Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

    Gaining membership into the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2003 is one of the better moments in Virginia Tech history.

    The Hokies previously competed in the Big East—for football only at one timewhile serving as an independent before that. Their inclusion into the ACC was viewed as a no-brainer for decades. 

    The man who helped the Hokies gain entry into the ACC was none other than UVa president John Casteen.

    Casteen, along with then-Virginia governor Mark Warner, campaigned for the Hokies to be admitted into the ACC beginning in the 2004 athletic season. 

    As expected, Virginia fans didn't take too kindly to their president helping its biggest rival become a fellow conference member. 

    Nonetheless, it added another intriguing element to this bitter rivalry. 

The Trip: Nov. 18, 1995

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    Virginia Tech cornerback Antonio Banks picked off a Mike Groh pass and proceeded to run it back for a touchdown when UVa trainer Joe Gieck stuck his foot out in an apparent attempt to trip Banks to save the game for the Cavaliers.

    It didn't work.

    Banks took it 65 yards to the house to seal a Hokie victory in what was, at that time, the best year in Virginia Tech history. Tech then defeated Texas in the Sugar Bowl, and the win over Virginia was arguably their most important of the year. 

    Gieck was successful in his own right. He retired in 2005 after spending 43 years in UVa's athletic department; however, he will forever be know for his trip attempt.

    Not only was this an exciting game between the two rivals, but both teams were good, too.