Nobody really gave Virginia Tech much of a chance against Ohio State in the weeks leading up to their matchup with the Buckeyes. Even with the issues Ohio State had a quarterback following the shoulder surgery which ruled out Braxton Miller for the season. Add to that the mystique of a night game at Ohio Stadium and the Hokies found themselves as double-digit underdogs.
When all was said and done, the Hokies left Columbus with a 14-point win, earning themselves one of the biggest wins in school history. While we won't make Buckeye fans relive the pain that happened in early September, we will look at some of the other big wins Virginia Tech has amassed under Frank Beamer.
10/7/89: Virginia Tech 12 #9 West Virginia 10
After an undefeated regular season in 1988, which included a 22-10 win over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, West Virginia hosted the Hokies in 1989, and came into the matchup ranked in the top-ten. In just over two and a half years as head coach Frank Beamer had only been able to post a 7-18-1 coming into the game. This looked prime to be a blowout, especially considering West Virginia had Major Harris at quarterback while Virginia Tech's Cam Young was making his first start for the Hokies.
The Hokies must have not gotten the memo that it was supposed to be an easy victory for the Mountaineers, as Virginia Tech not only earned their first win against a ranked West Virginia team in rivalry history, but also were able to earn their first win in Morgantown since 1967 to take home the Black Diamond Trophy. The Hokie defense stymied Harris, as the Heisman hopeful was only able to throw for 101 yards and tossed two interceptions. "Beamerball" had arrived.
11/18/95: #20 Virginia Tech 36 #13 Virginia 29
Virginia Tech had come into the season with high expectations after starting the year as the 20th ranked team in the country. Those high hopes were quickly erased after the Hokies lost their first two games of the year to Boston College and Cincinnati at home. The Hokies deserve credit though as it would have been easy to fold up after those first two losses, but Frank Beamer's team came into the Commonwealth Cup matchup riding an eight-game winning streak.
Just a few weeks prior to their meeting with Virginia Tech, the Cavaliers had taken down second-ranked Florida State in Charlottesville, and were looking to pad their bowl resume with a win over their rivals. The matchup saw Virginia Tech erase a 15-point second half deficit, with a Jim Druckenmiller 32-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Thomas with 47 seconds to go to give the Hokies a 30-29 lead. Virginia Tech added a 65-yard interception return on the last play of the game to give them a 36-29 victory.
12/31/95: #13 Virginia Tech 28 #9 Texas 10
With their performance in the 1995 season, Virginia Tech was Big East co-championship with Miami, but since the Hurricanes were ineligible for a bowl game due to sanctions, the Hokies were able to appear in their first Sugar Bowl. The successful season did have a drawback though, as there were rumors Beamer might take the head coaching opening at Georgia, but Beamer denied this rumors and the Bulldogs eventually hiring Jim Donnan. With this being the first major bowl game in school history, it didn't take Virginia Tech very long to sell out their allotment of tickets.
The buildup to the game was overshadowed by news coming out the weekend before the game that Texas defensive back Ron McKelvey was playing under an assumed name, and was actually a 30-year-old man named Ron Weaver.
Early on it looked like Texas might add another bowl win to their storied program history after jumping out to a 10-0 lead, but the Hokies recovered to take a 14-10 lead late in the third quarter. Jim Druckenmiller helped to add to the lead with a 54-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Still early in the fourth quarter. The big star of the game for the Hokies was their defense, which held a Texas team that came into the game ranked 17th in the country in total offense to only 226 yards.
11/1/03: #10 Virginia Tech 31 #2 Miami (FL) 7
Coming into the meeting in Blacksburg, Miami had won 39 out of their last 40 games, with the only loss during that time coming the previous year to Ohio State in the BCS National Championship Game. The Hurricanes were ranked second in the country and had also won 27 straight games in the Big East, with their last loss in conference coming in Blacksburg to Virginia Tech in 1999. By the time all was said and done at Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech was looking like the team that should've been the second ranked team in the country.
The Hokies opened up the scoring early in the second quarter with a 28-yard fumble return by DeAngelo Hall, and added a field goal right before halftime to make the score 10-0. With just over five minutes gone in the third quarter the Hokies broke the game open with a 51-yard interception return by Eric Green. Before the quarter was over Virginia Tech was able to open up a 31-0 lead, with Miami scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter to avoid the shutout. The win not only ended up being one of the biggest in school history, but also erased any hopes Miami had of returning to the national championship game.
10/2/04: Virginia Tech 19 #7 West Virginia 13
In 2003 the Hokies went into Morgantown as the third-ranked team in the country in late October and left with their undefeated record erased. It was the last time the rivals would play a Big East game against each other, but they met in early October in Blacksburg. This time West Virginia was the team coming in with national title hopes and an undefeated record. Virginia Tech was still struggling to find their legs early in the year after starting the season 2-2.
The victory for Virginia Tech was pretty much the true definition of "Beamerball". The Hokies kicking four fields goals and also scoring their only touchdown of the game on a 74-yard blocked field goal return by Vincent Fuller right before half to sending Virginia Tech into break with a 13-0 lead. Virginia Tech's defense was able to hold down Rich Rodriguez's offense, which had scored at least 45 points in three of their first four games, to only 247 yards during the game.
Since this meeting between the schools there has only been one more game for the Black Diamond Trophy, which Virginia Tech won in 2005. The rivalry will pick back up in a couple years though, with games scheduled between the schools in 2017, 2021, and 2022.
12/6/04: #11 Virginia Tech 16 #9 Miami (FL) 10
The meeting between the teams in 2003 came while both were members of the Big East Conference, but the meeting in 2004 in Miami marked the first year which both teams were members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Virginia Tech had clinched at least a share for the ACC title with their win the previous week against Virginia, but a win would deny Miami a chance to share the crown.
Once again Miami had trouble trying to solve the Virginia Tech defense, but unlike last year the Hurricanes were able to keep the game close, with the teams deadlocked at 10 heading into the fourth quarter. With just over 11 minutes left in the game, quarterback Bryan Randall was able to find Eddie Royal for a 39-yard touchdown pass to give the Hokies a 16-10, but Virginia Tech wasn't able to convert the extra point. Luckily for the Hokies the missed point after didn't come back to haunt them, as Miami wasn't even able to cross their own 35-yard line in their final three drives. The win give Virginia Tech the outright ACC title, and earned them a berth in the Sugar Bowl, where they lost 16-13 to an Auburn team that finished the season undefeated.
Since the 2004 there have been a number of other wins by the Hokies which could've made the list but they didn't have quite the importance as these ones. Virginia Tech ended a four-game BCS bowl skid by beating a Cincinnati team only there because of the Big East tie-in, but it didn't quite have the luster of some other BCS games. The Hokies also defeated a ninth-ranked Miami team in September 2009 by a familiar 31-7 score, but Miami wasn't quite as their early season ranking might have indicated.
Still it's not wise to count Virginia Tech out even though the Buckeyes will be a heavy favorite when the schools square off on Labor Day evening. Ohio State will have revenge on their mind and will have a loaded squad, but it isn't easy to go into Lane Stadium at night and win. While the big wins might have become fewer and fewer as the Frank Beamer era has gone on, his team has already notched an upset win over the Buckeyes.