CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - It’s now the one week of the year that divides the commonwealth, pitting family members against each other for a few hours on a college football Saturday. This week the ‘Hoos will travel down to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech with University of Virginia players and coaches looking to build off last year’s victory.
“This season I think it’s playing out just the way it should with Virginia playing Virginia Tech [in the] last game of the season in Blacksburg, it’s going to be a hell of a game for sure,” UVA’s Joey Blount said.
Although players say there’s added motivation to this game, the process remains the same.
“Our motto is beat Tech every year,” offensive lineman Joe Bissinger said. “We just try to stay 1-0 every week and this week it’s Tech so we’re just going to attack the week.”
UVA Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall says with all the uncertainty COVID-19 had brought this season, this week there’s more sense of normalcy.
“It doesn’t mean the game isn’t more important,” he said. “It doesn’t mean the game doesn’t have significant value, but the preparation models are designed to maximize performance every single week so there is more routine than an atypical routine.”
The Cavaliers are looking to knock off the Hokies in Blacksburg for the first time since 1998. Players say keeping an underdog mentality will help them do just that.
“I’m going to preach to the team that this week is Tech week. It’s a big week but we need to go into the game with the mindset that we’re the underdog,” Blount said.
After a long and exhausting season played during a pandemic, a rivalry game can be the light at the end of the tunnel.
“I think one of the values of having a rivalry game at the end of the season is motivation and regardless of how your season has gone, there’s always that game,” Mendenhall said.
The Hokies and Hoo’s will square off in Blacksburg Saturday night at 8 p.m. with the Commonwealth Cup on the line.