Virginia Tech Hokies still in shock over loss to the James Madison

By Mark Giannotto
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 12, 2010; 10:11 PM

BLACKSBURG, VA. - Angie Beale sat on Main Street here, more than three hours after the Virginia Tech football team's shocking upset loss to James Madison, in the retrofitted golf cart she and her boyfriend bring to every Hokies game they attend. It features shredded maroon and orange paint with several Virginia Tech flags hanging from the back.

The couple uses it as a taxi of sorts on game days when they make the five-hour drive in their RV from Chesapeake, Va., to Lane Stadium. The scene on this Saturday night, though, was entirely unfamiliar.

"You don't see very many people out," said Beale, a class of 2000 alum and a former cheerleader, after her alma mater lost, 21-16, in its home opener. "It's dead. That's not Virginia Tech."

She was not the only one surprised with what took place on a rainy Saturday afternoon in Blacksburg, when No. 13 Virginia Tech became just the second ranked team ever to lose to a division I-AA opponent.

James Madison was 0-6 all-time against the Hokies, and its past two visits to Blacksburg ended in losses by a combined score of 90-0. Not to mention that Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer had never lost to a I-AA foe since taking over the program in 1987.

In the week leading up to this game, James Madison's own coach, Mickey Matthews, called the notion of the Dukes coming into Blacksburg and defeating a program like Virginia Tech "comical."

"When you get right down to it, they didn't want any of our guys," he said.

That notion, the assumption that Virginia Tech is more talented than James Madison even after it was outplayed, makes this loss a tough pill to swallow for Hokies players and fans alike.

During his postgame news conference, Virginia Tech fifth-year senior cornerback Rashad Carmichael said he wanted to organize a practice Saturday night to try to remedy what he had witnessed on the field that afternoon.

This was not how his final season at Virginia Tech was supposed to begin. Just one week ago, the Hokies entered their season-opening game against Boise State harboring thoughts of the program's first national championship.

"Right now, I'm in shock. I don't know what happened," said Carmichael. "None of the guys took it lightly. We had a great week of practice, a great week of preparation. Everybody was ready. After that loss last week, we wanted to rip these guys heads off."

The effects of this defeat will be felt as far west as Idaho, where Boise State fans are left to wonder if their win over the Hokies will still carry weight with the BCS at the end of the season.

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