Virginia Tech is looking to begin a four-game homestand looking with a win when the Hokies play Richmond for the first time since 1986.
The Hokies are coming off a 27-21 loss at West Virginia that knocked them out of the Top 25, The Spiders (2-1) of the Colonial Athletic Association are also looking for a win after their 34-27 loss to Villanova. The last time Richmond played at Virginia Tech the Spiders left with a 24-14 victory in 1985.
It’s one of two victories in 27 games for the Spiders in Blacksburg, Virginia, but enough to get Hokies’ coach Justin Fuente’s attention.
“Tremendous challenge this week to come back home to play a team that was really close to being undefeated coming into this game,” Fuente said. “A veteran football team coming into our place that’s very well-coached on both sides of the ball and special teams. They have four or five defensive linemen that would play for us.”
The Spiders are 25-127-9 all-time against ACC schools, with their last victory a 37-20 victory at Virginia in 2016. Coach Russ Huesman likes the $400,000 payday his program will receive, but also the opportunity for his players.
“I like the games. Obviously you say the guarantee, and that’s obviously important to FCS programs,” Huesman said. “But I think it’s great for our guys to get out there and play in that environment, play against those guys.
“It helps in recruiting, all those types of things.”
The Hokies are taking nothing for granted.
“The mentality that we have as a team, really, is that we had a tough loss, but it is only the third game of the season,” offensive lineman Lecitus Smith said. “We have nine more to go, if not more. There’s a lot more football to be played.”
Some other things to watch when Richmond plays at Virginia Tech:
There have been numerous wins by Championship Subdivision teams against FBS teams already this season, and the Hokies are well aware.
“In this day and age, any DI team is going to have guys that are athletic and make plays and can ball out on the field,” receiver Kaleb Smith said. “I’m excited for what our receivers can do against them. We have to handle our business.”
Richmond’s Aaron Dykes returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown against Villanova, the third kickoff return touchdown of his career. The junior had the other two in the same game against Delaware and former Spiders coach Danny Rocco in 2019.
Dykes has scored touchdowns three ways: three on run, one on a 7-yard pass reception and one on the kickoff.
Virginia Tech has an off week following this game, but will play No. 12 Notre Dame the following week as it continues a six home games out of seven to start the season.
Virginia Teach won the first 10 games in the series, nine by shutout, and held a 250-7 scoring advantage in those games. … The Holies are one of 10 Power Five programs to have allowed 10 points or less against another Power Five program (17-10 over No. 21 North Carolina) on Sept. 3. The Tar Heels scored 59 last week against Virginia.
By HANK KURZ Jr., AP Sports Writer