Loved: Beating UVA in Basketball
Any time the Hokies beat the Cavaliers is a wonderful moment, but the recent basketball game on Jan. 30 was exciting to watch. I was able to attend in person, the first time I had been to a live sporting event in four months, and Tech did not disappoint. It looked as though the Hokies would fall to UVA heading into halftime, but thanks to Keva Aluma, Tech turned it around and secured the win, 65-51.
Broke my heart: Hendon Hooker leaves the program
In 2018, Hooker saw his first action as a Hokie, but his collegiate career took off in 2019, in which he competed in 11 games and won six straight games as starting quarterback. Hooker set program records and changed the atmosphere of Virginia Tech football. In 2020, Hooker started for seven of the eight games he played in and threw a total of 1,339 yards and nine touchdowns, running for another nine as well. Hooker was a difficult loss for the Hokies and the impact will be felt next season on the field.
Loved: Khalil Herbert goes off for 358 total yards against Duke
Many Hokie fans thought Kansas transfer Khalil Herbert would be a nice addition to the Virginia Tech offense, but few thought the electric runner would be as good as he was. Herbert became the bellcow for the Hokie offense with his blend of speed, balance and explosiveness in the open field. His best game of the season came against Duke, rushing for 208 yards and two touchdowns and going for 150 yards as a kick returner. He dominated the Blue Devils all game long and had three amazing runs of over 20 yards in the matchup. The graduate student went on to rush for the 9th-most yards ever by a Virginia Tech running back and earn himself a third-team All-ACC selection.
Broke my heart: Quincy Patterson leaves the program
I’ve been one of the biggest fans and proponents of former Elite 11 quarterback Quincy Patterson as the future of the Hokie football program. Unfortunately, Patterson was never given much playing time and just couldn’t find a way onto the field for Virginia Tech in his three years with the program. In November, he announced he would be entering the NCAA transfer portal along with a wave of other Hokie football players. In December, Patterson announced that he would be transferring to North Dakota State and continuing his football career there. Hopefully the talented young quarterback can find his way onto the field and find success in Fargo.
Loved: Beating UVA in Football
After the end of a 15-year winning streak in 2019, the Hokies came back in 2020 with a strong performance, beating the Cavaliers 33-15. With the help of strong players, including running back Khalil Herbert and quarterback Braxton Burmeister, the Hokies were able to take back the Commonwealth Cup. This moment was especially sweet for me after many arguments with my dad, a graduate of UVA, about who would win this year.
Broke my Heart: Hokies end longest active bowl streak
After appearing in 27 consecutive bowl games from 1993-2019, the Hokies held the title for the longest active streak of bowl game appearances. This streak sadly came to end in 2020 when it was decided the team would not be competing in any post-season competition after a season filled with uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Loved: Beating UNC in basketball in double overtime
Facing off against the Tar Heels in basketball always seems like a tall order, no matter the situation. Both teams were competitive throughout and this game proved to be a nail-biter. Jalen Cone had a big night, making a career-high six three-pointers and starting a comeback that would eventually lead to two overtime periods. In the final moments of the second overtime, Tyrece Radford made a game-winning layup, giving the Hokies a hard-fought 79-77 victory.
Broke my heart: Losing to Liberty in football
The Hokies’ loss to Liberty was the definition of a heartbreaker. It was a back-and-forth contest which featured a standout performance from Hendon Hooker, who logged 373 total yards with four touchdowns and led a perfect drive down the field in the final minutes to tie the game. With eight seconds left in regulation, Liberty lined up to attempt a 59-yard field goal and it looked like the game would likely go into overtime. Instead, the kick was blocked by Virginia Tech and returned for a touchdown, sending every Hokie fan into a craze. We were all crushed when the play was called back due to a timeout called by coach Justin Fuente in an attempt to ice the kicker. Liberty used this second chance to get a first down and convert on a 51-yard field goal, winning the game and breaking the hearts of Hokies everywhere.
Loved: Jacory Patterson winning the men’s 400m dash at the ACC Indoor Championships
From high school to now, track and field has always been one of my favorite sports. My competing days are far gone, but I still do enjoy watching it, especially the fast heats. I unknowingly was graced with the opportunity to see one of the best sprinters in the country in Virginia Tech’s own Jacory Patterson. Patterson’s speed is unreal and I never saw anybody that fast in my racing days. To watch him dominate and run a 45.66 400m dash and take home gold on such a large scale was a great feeling and great sight as a fan of the sport and as a Hokie. Seeing how that was my first and probably only meet I’ll witness because of the pandemic, the memory will always live rent free in my mind.
Broke my heart: The loss against UVA in basketball
The UVA vs. VT match-up is always intense, regardless of which sport is being played. I had the chance to watch the last UVA vs VT men’s basketball game pre-pandemic and, boy, was I heartbroken by it. The game was fairly close most of the time and it seemed like the teams were going to go into OT, which would have been exciting, but that was ruined for me and the other fans as a UVA player drained a last second three-pointer. The game ended 53-56. Sitting there live and watching it absolutely sunk my heart; the men’s basketball team was always struggling by that point in the season, so that game felt like a must-win. To see them lose already made me sad, but to lose in that way made it hurt a lot more. Thankfully, we beat the Cavaliers this season.
Loved: Beating Villanova in basketball
This was the most excited I had been as a Hokie sports fan in a while, and for good reason. Our basketball team struggled mightily down the stretch last year, but another year in Coach Young's system, plus some major personnel changes, suggested that progress could be in the cards for this season. Considering that the game was a last-minute addition, nothing made me feel that way more than when we beat No. 3 Villanova in overtime over Thanksgiving break. Last year, we beat No. 3 Michigan State at the Maui Invitational, but this win felt different. I personally saw a team with better leadership play with more poise than at any point last season. After controlling most of the first half, we got down by 12 in the second half, but never put our heads down. That win headlines a resume for Tech that includes four wins against ranked teams and a solid AP ranking of our own. To say that Coach Young’s tenure is going better than I expected is a major understatement.
Broke my heart: Losing to UVA in basketball
Regardless of sport and record, the UVA-VT rivalry always brings the juice. Both teams experienced some growing pains last season after experiencing program-best seasons, but that had no impact on the passion that fans from both sides brought to this game. After struggling mightily in the first half to the tune of 11 first-half points, VT toughened up in the second half, making some shots of their own and forcing the UVA offense into some dry spells. After taking the lead for parts of the second half, the waning seconds of the game saw the score tied at 53. UVA had the ball on the last possession of the game, and guard Kihei Clark pulled up and hit a clutch three that would prove to be the game winner. There were some UVA fans there, but in the Tech student section, you could hear a pin drop. As much as UVA deserves credit, that loss really hurt, given that we needed a win in the worst way possible.
Loved: Defeating No. 3 NC State in wrestling
Watching the wrestling team defeat NC State to capture a share of the ACC dual team title while ending the longest winning streak by an NCAA team could not have been more impressive. The Wolfpack have consistently dominated the ACC and defeating this juggernaut of a team with one consisting of so much young talent says a lot about the coaching staff at Virginia Tech. Coach Tony Robie, who signed a three-year extension last year, has introduced a major roadblock for the Wolfpack to overcome if they would like to continue exerting their dominance on a more competitive ACC conference. With the time nearly expired, Sam Latona wrestled until the clock struck zero, highlighting the sort of newfound grit and resilience that Virginia Tech wrestling hasn’t displayed in the past. The future is bright for the Virginia Tech program program and it most definitely appears as though the team will bring another national champion back to Blacksburg quite soon.
Broke my heart: Losing our bowl streak
While the football team opted not to play a bowl game, ending the nation's longest bowl streak in the NCAA, the team wasn’t deserving of playing in one in the first place if not for generous COVID-19 allowances. The team got off to a decent start despite their struggles with keeping players in check while following COVID-19 guidelines but fell off towards the end of the season. After getting pummeled by Pitt, it didn’t appear as though the team deserved to keep their bowl streak alive, and it’s heartbreaking to watch the program regress year after year. After losses to ODU, UVA and Liberty (granted, UVA and Liberty deserve credit, as they were each incredibly talented) faith in the coaching staff dropped off drastically as two of those games were within reach. Hopefully, the Hokies can rebound by making it back to a bowl game and winning the game in the process, as they have not won a bowl in a couple years.
Loved: Beating No. 3 Villanova 81-73 in the Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament
Knocking off Villanova was an incredible way to set the tone for Mike Young’s second season as Virginia Tech’s head coach. Not only did Young win his second game in as many years against the third-ranked team in the country, but Keve Aluma shined for the Hokies after sitting out the 2019 season. Aluma scored a career-high 23 points and added eight rebounds, including an and-one with 1.3 seconds left that would end up forcing the game into an extra five minutes of play. The Hokies went on to outscore the Wildcats 17-9 in overtime to secure the eight-point win. Since then, Aluma has been one of the best players in the ACC and has the Hokies in prime position to secure a double-bye in the ACC tournament with a month remaining in the regular season.
Broke my heart: Losing to Liberty in Football
Going from the elation of a game-winning blocked field goal return by Jermaine Waller, to the heartbreak of a 51-yard game-winning field goal by Liberty’s Alex Barbir, was a roller coaster of emotions that left Virginia Tech fans devastated. Watching the game on TV, it appeared that the Hokies had won off of an incredible special teams play. Virginia Tech players celebrated with Jermaine Waller as he ran through the endzone in excitement, but the mood flipped when officials ruled that head coach Justin Fuente had called a timeout right before the kick, voiding the play and the win. Liberty set up a shorter field goal for their kicker after the timeout, and Barbir’s second attempt was good for the 38-35 upset, summing up the 2020 Virginia Tech football season perfectly.