West Virginia football earned its first landmark win over a major rival in the Neal Brown era when it held off the 15th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies to bring the Black Diamond Trophy to Morgantown for the first time since 2004.
Brown’s tenure has had some ups and downs through the early part of year three. WVU’s win over Virginia Tech gets his record in Morgantown to 13-12, with some impressive wins and disappointing losses along the way. This win over the Hokies, however, might shine brightest on his resume thus far.
“I thought this was going to be a defining moment for this team and where we’re at,” Brown said.
There was plenty of excitement around this rivalry contest even before fall camp. WVU athletics actually had to put ticket sales on hold as they were selling too fast, hoping to let Hokie fans a chance to get in.
In the week leading up, WVU announced the game was sold out, and it showed in the stands on Saturday — 60,022 fans showed up to Milan Puskar Stadium, the largest crowd since West Virginia hosted Texas in 2019, and the third-largest of the Brown era.
“The crowd was electric. We appreciate them,” Brown said. “They made a difference. I thought they really made a difference early, and they made a difference late on that final (Virginia Tech) drive. In the last drive of the first half, they (Virginia Tech) had a hard time communicating, and that’s a credit to our crowd.”
Even Brown’s players felt that the Virginia Tech was different. Alonzo Addae, a college football veteran and key member of the Mountaineer defense, called it the “biggest game I’ve ever played in.”
“Crazy atmosphere, I stayed after the game too and was able to talk to some of the fans,” “Just like the love that people in this town bring, I’ve never been a part of anything like it, so it’s a great experience.”