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Virginia Tech will take on Western Michigan Saturday afternoon in Lane Stadium for the Hokiesí 2004 home opener. The game will mark the 3rd time in the past 4 seasons that the schools have met on the gridiron, and it provides the Hokies with a chance to do the unusual: shut out an opponent for the third straight time.
In 2001, the Hokies defeated the Broncos in Lane Stadium 31-0 behind a workmanlike effort from the offense and an outstanding performance from the defense. Tech held Western Michigan to just 166 total yards, while racking up 427 yards themselves. It was Techís first game without Lee Suggs, who tore his ACL the previous week in the opener against UConn. The Hokies used the trio of Keith Burnell, Kevin Jones and Wayne Ward to knock off the Broncos, while Kevin McCadam and David Pugh had big games on the defensive side of the ball.
The 2001 contest was supposed to offer up an early season test for the highly ranked Hokies, who some predicted would play in the Rose Bowl for the National Championship. Western Michigan, led by head coach Gary Darnell, was a program on the rise after winning two consecutive MAC Western Division Championships in 1999 and 2000. Darnell was a coach who was expected to make the jump to a BCS Conference soon, after leading Western Michigan to another good year in 2001. However, the Hokies blew out the upset-minded Broncos, and Western Michigan went on to a disappointing 5-6 record in 2001.
The 2 teams met again in 2002, this time in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In the week leading up to the game, the matchup was considered to be the biggest game in Waldo Stadium history, and was appropriately dubbed "Blackout Saturday" when the student body donned black shirts for the game. Yet again, the Broncos found themselves on the short end of a shutout, losing to the Hokies 30-0.
Despite the lopsided final score, the 2002 matchup with Western Michigan had many Hokie fans in a state of shock late in the first half, because the game was close. The Hokies managed to take a 9-0 lead with 1:40 remaining in the first half, on a shovel pass to Lee Suggs. On the next Bronco possession, Nathaniel Adibi forced a fumble and linebacker Alex Markogiannakis ran it back 35 yards for a touchdown, putting the Hokies up 16-0 going into the halftime break. Tech continued to pull away in the 2nd half.
The most impressive stat in Virginia Techís two victories over the Broncos is the goose egg that you see beside Western Michigan in the box score. It is extremely difficult to shut a team out, especially a team that is known for their offense, and to do it two times in a row is downright impressive. Think about that for a second. Western Michigan hasnít been able to sniff the end zone, or even kick a field goal, in 120 minutes of action against the Hokies. To make matters worse, the Broncos only return three offensive starters in 2004, including a new quarterback, and they must face a Tech defense that seems greatly improved, particularly in getting pressure on the quarterback.
Will the Hokies be able to shut out Western Michigan for a 3rd straight time? Weíll all know the answer on Saturday afternoon, but for now letís take a look at Techís shutout streaks of past years against their 2004 opponents.
The Hokies have had several shutout streaks over NC State over the years. Way back in 1903, the Hokies shut the Wolfpack out 21-0, and beat State again 6-0 in 1906. In 1911, 1914 and 1916, Tech beat NC State by the scores of 3-0, 3-0 and 40-0 to earn three consecutive shutout wins. In 1922 and 1923, the Hokies dominated the Pack once again by the scores of 24-0 and 16-0.
In 1959 and 1960, Tech shutout West Virginia 12-0 and 15-0. Tech came close to shutting out WVU twice in a row in the 90s. The Hokies knocked off the ĎEers 27-0 in 1995, but had given up up a few points in a 34-6 win the previous season.
Virginia Tech only holds one shutout streak over Wake Forest, but its one bad mother of a streak. The Hokies and the Demon Deacons first met in 1916, and Wake didnít score on Tech until 1955. The two schools met four consecutive years starting in 1916, and once again in 1954, with the Hokies shutting out Wake every time, the closest matchup being a 32-0 Tech win in 1954.
The Virginia Tech-North Carolina series dates back to 1895. The teams have met 27 times since that season. In that time period, Tech owns three shutout streaks against the Heels. Beginning in 1896, the Hokies shutout UNC twice in a row, the first being a 0-0 tie. The 1897 game ended in a 4-0 Tech win. Skip forward to 1900, and the Hokies began a three-game shutout streak against UNC. In both 1900 and 1902, the games ended in a 0-0 tie, and Tech won the 1903 game 21-0. Tech got their longest shutout streak against the Heels between the years 1908 and 1912, when they shut out UNC five consecutive times. The Hokies and the Heels have met only once on the gridiron since 1948, with UNC winning the 1998 Gator Bowl 42-3.
Tech also holds a couple of shutout streaks against Maryland. Tech beat the Terps 12-0 in 1924 and 3-0 in 1925 to complete the first streak. The second streak came in 1932 and 1933, when the contests ended in 23-0 and 14-0 Tech victories.
The Hokies also hold 2 shutout streaks against the rival Virginia Cavaliers. The 1931 game ended in a 0-0 tie, while the 1932 game resulted in a 13-0 Hokie win. Tech completed another streak in the years 1939 and 1940, winning 13-0 and 6-0. As a side note, 7 of the first 8 games of the Virginia Tech-UVA series resulted in shutout victories for the Cavaliers.
Those stats are all ancient history, though. If the Hokies are successful in shutting out the Broncos for the third time in a row, it will be a unique feat in modern history. Since 1950 (a date chosen somewhat arbitrarily, I'll admit), the Hokies haven't shut out any team three times in a row; not Temple, not Rutgers, not William and Mary or VMI or Richmond or Virginia.
The best chance the Hokies had of pulling off a shutout hat trick in recent history was against UAB. The Hokies played a three-game series against the Blazers in 1997-99, and in the first two games, they shut UAB out, 37-0 and 41-0. As a matter of fact, UAB only had 159 yards of total offense combined in those two games. But in 1999, with Dave Meyer subbing for Michael Vick in the second game of the season, UAB took advantage of some Virginia Tech turnovers and scored 10 points in a 31-10 loss to the Hokies.
VT has two straight shutouts against James Madison, in 1999
(43-0) and 2003 (47-0), but the Hokies are not scheduled to play the Dukes again at this time.
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|TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week|
Michigan Game Preview
ESPN25: How Ordinary Hokie Fans Became Stars
Tech Talk Tuesday Archive, September 7, 2004 (Audio)
Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Basketball Recruiting: Archie Has Favorite, Nivins Changes Gears
Rookie Diary #18: Steelers Cut Adibi; Titans Pick Him Up
Takes Over Top Spot on Depth Chart
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