The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

October 12, 2013

Virgina Tech seeking revenge against Pitt

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Frank Beamer didn’t hold back.

In his 27 years as No. 24 Virginia Tech’s coach, few teams have had the Hokies’ number like Pitt, which arrives at Lane Stadium on Saturday seeking its fifth victory in a row in the series.

“This is a team that we’ve had a hard time beating,” Beamer said.

Beamer rolled off a list of powerhouse programs that are no strangers to the Hokies, and who can’t claim four straight victories over Virginia Tech: Alabama. LSU. Texas A&M. Clemson. He also included Florida State and Miami, and in reality, those are the only two that can. The Seminoles won their first seven against Beamer’s team and the Hurricanes won four, but it still puts the Panthers in good company.

The Hokies (5-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won five straight and haven’t needed to be reminded that it was at Pittsburgh last year that their season went badly off tracks in a 35-17 loss.

Wide receiver Willie Byrn said even the coaches seem especially focused for this game.

“I don’t think they like losing period, but I think you can certainly sense a little bit of just a revenge factor for Pitt,” the Hokies’ second leading receiver with 21 catches said. “I don’t know about all four games, but certainly last year. All of our players were there for last year, so we just want to go out there and try to beat them and give them a little bit of a taste of what they gave us last year.”

The Panthers (3-1, 2-1) are in their first year in the ACC, and while Virginia Tech and Miami seem headed for another epic showdown to win the Coastal Division, Pittsburgh is right there in the mix.

The Panthers are led by quarterback Tom Savage and have won three straight, the last two in the most divergent ways imaginable. They beat Duke

58-55 and Savage tied a record with six touchdown passes. They then beat Virginia 14-3, despite Savage getting sacked seven times and knocked out of the game.

He’s been cleared to play, in part thanks to a bye last week that gave him recuperation time, and coach Paul Chryst said he will find out a lot about his team by seeing how they handle a tough road game.

“They’re playing pretty well right now and we’ve got a heck of a challenge,” the second-year coach Chryst said. “I’m excited to get back into game week, go down there and keep finding out who we are as a team.”

Here are five things to watch for when Pittsburgh plays at No. 24 Virginia Tech:

Passing game vs pass rush: Savage showed what he’s capable of with the six TD passes against Duke, and how he’s vulnerable against Virginia when he was sacked seven times and knocked out of the game. Pitt WRs Devin Street and Tyler Boyd each average more than 100 yards receiving per game, making them one of three tandems that can make that claim. The Hokies are No. 1 with 13 INTs and tied for the lead with 19 sacks.

Razzle dazzle anyone? With two weeks to get ready to face what is one of the nation’s best defenses, have Chryst and his staff come up with some trickery that could get them some easy, demoralizing points?

Protecting Logan: Hokies QB Logan Thomas played last week with an abdominal strain and a tweaked ankle and still ran the ball 16 times. Some success by RBs Trey Edmunds and J.C. Coleman and good protection that keeps pash-rushing beast DT Aaron Donald off Thomas would serve the Hokies well.

Eyes on the prize: Sure, the Hokies finished 7-6 last season, but most everyone on the team knows the program more as a perennial 10-game winner. The players have insisted they remain focused game-to-game, but Thomas acknowledged this week that the game against Miami on Nov. 9 could be huge. Looking ahead?

Kick ball through posts: Hokies coach Frank Beamer has been uncanny in his ability to find a reliable placekicker year after year. Until recently, Cody Journell was just the next one line. But Journell has missed half of his six FG tries, along with two of 15 PATs, and backup Ethan Keyserling missed all three of his FG tries in a triple overtime victory against Marshall.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pitt ends its spring practices

    No tailgating.
    No trip to a local high school.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pirates Game 1 0415 Pirates edge out Reds in suspended game

    After all those home runs and an overnight delay, it was settled by a single.
    Andrew McCutchen doubled and came around on Russell Martin’s single in the seventh inning on Tuesday, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the completion of a game that spanned two days and 10 home runs.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • track_B1 WestPAC relays go to Windber boys, Berlin girls

    Rain showers and dropping temperatures put a damper on Monday’s WestPAC Relays at Berlin Brothersvalley High School.
    For the Berlin girls and the boys from Windber, however, discomfort was not much of a factor.
    The Mountaineers won their third straight relay title while the Ramblers reclaimed the title from defending champ Shade.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

  • Penguins 0414 Pressure on Penguins to capture Cup

    The statistics are gaudy.
    And if the Pittsburgh Penguins can’t find a way to extend their season into the final days of spring, ultimately forgettable.
    The same team that led the NHL in man games lost due to injury (more than 500) also earned 109 points, led the Metropolitan Division from mid-October on and received another peerless effort from star Sidney Crosby, who topped the league with 104 points and is a near lock for the second MVP award of his career.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local High School Baseball and Softball Briefs 4-15-14

    April 14, 2014

  • Local Sports Briefs 4-15-14

    April 14, 2014

  • horizontal hawks Fighting Falcons win playoff series against Tomahawks

    The third period of Game 3 of the NAHL North Division semifinal served as a quick primer of the Johnstown Tomahawks’ playoff fortunes against top-seeded Port Huron.
    Trailing by two goals going into the third, the Tomahawks ramped up the intensity, producing a goal early and a multitude of chances at an equalizer until the game’s final moments when goaltender Max Milosek stopped Jordan Watt’s breakaway try as the Cambria County War Memorial Arena’s horn sounded.

    April 12, 2014 2 Photos

AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide