BLACKSBURG, Va. — West Virginia is in Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium for the first time since 2004. The old Big East rivals have met three times since then, in 2005, 2017 and 2021. The Hokies won the first two matchups in Morgantown and Landover, Md., respectively, before the Mountaineers regained possession of the Black Diamond Trophy by virtue of a 27-21 win last season at Milan Puskar Stadium.
With this likely the last matchup between the Mountaineers and Hokies for at least a decade, the winner of the 7:30 p.m. affair will possess the Black Diamond Trophy for an extended time.
ESPN will carry tonight’s contest, which West Virginia (1-2) hopes to conclude with the same record as Virginia Tech (2-1).
11:00 p.m. FINAL: WEST VIRGINIA 33, Virginia Tech 10. The Mountaineers improve to 2-2, while the Hokies fall to 2-2.
10:50 p.m. — The Hokies get inside the WVU 30 before a Taijh Alston sack results in a 6-yard loss. Faced with fourth-and-16, VT goes for it, but Wells’ pass falls incomplete. WVU takes over at its 35 with 6:19 left.
10:41 p.m. — SCORE: True freshman Jacolby Spells records West Virginia’s first interception this season. He picks off a Wells pass and returns it 27 yards for a touchdown. WEST VIRGINIA 33, Virginia Tech 10, 9:36 4th qtr
JACOLBY SPELLS PICK SIX 💥#Big12FB x @WVUfootball
📺 @ESPN pic.twitter.com/8zToF2vsC3
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) September 23, 2022
10:35 p.m. — SCORE: Legg makes it 4-for-4 on the evening and his 38-yard field goal ups the WVU lead to 16. WEST VIRGINIA 26, Virginia Tech 10, 10:16 4th qtr
10:28 p.m. — Virginia Tech goes three-and-out and defensive lineman Mike Lockhart got his hands on Wells’ third down pass, leading to an incompletion and punt. WVU starts at its own 44 with 13:10 left.
10:22 p.m. — SCORE: Johnson reaches the end zone on a 6-yard run for his first career touchdown. The Mountaineers strangely elect for a point-after kick and take a 13-point lead. The Hokies’ defense committed yet another costly penalty, this one a personal foul hands to the face on Norell Pollard that generated a first down on third-and-14. WEST VIRGINIA 23, Virginia Tech 10, 14:13 4th qtr
BOOM‼️Justin Johnson TD 💪#Big12FB x @WVUfootball
📺 @ESPN pic.twitter.com/zT9We6ZrLQ
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) September 23, 2022
10:15 p.m. — West Virginia takes a 16-10 lead into the fourth quarter. On the current drive, the Mountaineers elected to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Hokies’ 35, before being pushed back on a James Gmiter false start penalty. WVU still went for it on what was then fourth-and-6, and the Hokies had the play well-defended, which led to Daniels throwing an incomplete pass. However, a roughing the passer penalty on Dax Hollifield generated a WVU first down. The Mountaineers are facing third-and-14 from the Hokies’ 28 to start the fourth quarter, though the wind is now in WVU’s favor. West Virginia is out-gaining Tech 337-186 through three quarters.
10:03 p.m. — SCORE: The Hokies orchestrate their second scoring drive of the night and settle for a 44-yard field goal from William Ross to make it a one-possession game. VT drove 50 yards in 10 plays and benefited from a pass interference pass on cornerback Rashad Ajayi that allowed the Hokies to enter field goal range. WEST VIRGINIA 16, Virginia Tech 10, 4:19 3rd qtr
9:54 p.m. — SCORE: The Mountaineers force a three-and-out and move 79 yards into the red zone, before settling for Legg’s 25-yard field goal. Daniels had tight end Mike O’Laughlin open on third-and-goal for what would’ve been a touchdown, but the pass was thrown slightly behind the tight end, who still could’ve hauled it in, but didn’t. The status of true freshman tailback CJ Donaldson is something to monitor moving forward. Donaldson appeared to suffer a hand injury on a first-and-goal run. He has 84 of the 137 rushing yards between the teams thus far. Mathis has not been back in since he lost a second-quarter fumble, with the Mountaineers opting to use Justin Johnson in place of him. The Hokies have only 12 rushing yards, but by forcing three short field goals, they remain squarely in the game. WEST VIRGINIA 16, Virginia Tech 7, 7:04 3rd qtr
9:20 p.m. — West Virginia takes a 13-7 lead into halftime. The Mountaineers have a 237-140 advantage in total yards, including 93-12 in rushing. Prather has five receptions for 61 yards to lead WVU, while Smith has five catches for a game-high 70 yards to this point.
9:12 p.m. — SCORE: After forcing a punt and taking over at their 30, the Mountaineers drive 70 yards for their first touchdown — a 24-yard pass from JT Daniels to Sam James. Kaden Prather’s breakout first half continues with two more catches on the drive to give him WEST VIRGINIA 13, Virginia Tech 7, 0:11 2nd qtr
JT Daniels with a STRIKE to put @WVUfootball up at the half 🎯 pic.twitter.com/1lppfYFgtn
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 23, 2022
9:02 p.m. — West Virginia reaches the red zone for a second time, but settles for another field goal. This one from Legg covered 35 yards and brings WVU to within a point. VIRGINIA TECH 7, West Virginia 6, 1:50 2nd qtr
8:46 p.m. — The Mountaineers can’t sustain momentum from the turnover in downs and punt after four offensive plays and one first down. VT takes over at its 26 with 7:18 to play in the half.
8:42 p.m. — Out of a timeout, the Hokies elect to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the WVU 18, but Wells is stuffed at the line of scrimmage by Jordan Jefferson. WVU takes over 8:34 before halftime.
8:32 p.m. — West Virginia moves the ball well for the second time in three possessions, but Tony Mathis fumbles on second-and-10 from the Virginia Tech 37, and the Hokies’ Dorian Strong recovers. Virginia Tech starts from its 35 with 11:27 left in the half.
8:25 p.m. — SCORE: Grant Wells connects with Kaleb Smith for a 28-yard touchdown pass on the opening play of the second quarter. The Mountaineers had the Hokies in third-and-13 moments earlier, but a pass interference penalty on Davis Mallinger prolonged the drive. Wesley McCormick was in single coverage on Smith on the TD. VIRGINIA TECH 7, West Virginia 3, 14:52
What a ball. What a catch.@GrantWells__ ➡️ @kaleb11smith
📺: @espn | 📱 https://t.co/6L8mWaTNQr pic.twitter.com/Ayh1w7OEFA
— Virginia Tech Football (@HokiesFB) September 23, 2022
8:06 p.m. — SCORE: West Virginia gets to the Virginia Tech 5-yard line, but two incomplete passes sandwiched between a negative rushing play prevents the Mountaineers from reaching the end zone. Instead, it’s Casey Legg’s 23-yard field goal that provides the game’s first points to finish off a 14 play, 92-yard drive. Four VT defensive penalties, including a critical pass interference, were to West Virginia’s benefit. WEST VIRGINIA 3, Virginia Tech 0, 3:19 1st qtr
7:48 p.m. — After missing last week’s win over Wofford, Keshawn King, Virginia Tech’s leading rusher, starts for the Hokies. VT converts its first third down with 8 yards needed, but fails to pick up another first down. A high snap on the punt play could’ve been problematic, but instead Peter Moore gets off a strong 48-yard directional kick that goes out of bounds at the West Virginia 2. That’s where the Mountaineers will start with 10:25 to play in the opening quarter.
7:43 p.m. — The Mountaineers start with three passes and three completions, but a three-and-out. Ja’Quay Hubbard was the starter at right tackle with Nester at right guard. Oliver Straw’s 35-yard punt leaves the Hokies with the ball at their 36-yard line and 12:57 left in the first quarter.
7:38 p.m. — Virginia wins the toss and defers to the second half. West Virginia will start with the ball. West Virginia’s captains are: Dante Stills, Doug Nester, Sam James and Zach Frazier
7:15 p.m. — Former Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick is in attendance tonight. Vick spoke to the Hokies at practice earlier this week.
7:10 p.m. — Virginia Tech is 13-5 all-time on Thursday night games at Lane Stadium. The first Thursday night contest at Lane Stadium came in September 1994 when Virginia Tech downed West Virginia, 34-6. The Mountaineers are 37-33-3 all-time on Thursdays, including 13-3 on Thursday nights. WVU is 10-5 in its last 15 Thursday night appearances on ESPN, though one of the five setbacks was this year’s season opener at Pitt.
6:50 p.m. — West Virginia defensive lineman Jalen Thornton is dressed for the first time this season. Two other defensive linemen, Zeiqui Lawton and Hammond Russell, are not dressed for the fourth time in as many games. Right guard Jordan White is dressed and participating in warmups. White returned to the lineup against Towson and played sparingly after missing the previous week’s loss to Kansas. Safety Aubrey Burks is expected to return after not playing last Saturday.
The Mountaineers have arrived at Lane Stadium to face Virginia Tech. Kickoff is set for 7:39 p.m. pic.twitter.com/AQDg06VTkY
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) September 22, 2022
Your essential pregame links:
Setting the scene from Blacksburg
Mountaineers’ defense, Hokies’ offense both looking to hit their stride
Virginia Tech defense figures to be formidable challenge
Three Guys Before the Game — Virginia Tech preview edition
Short week alters preparation, but both teams in ‘pretty equal’ positions