The Washington Post

Virginia Tech, West Virginia will open 2017 college football season at FedEx Field

The football rivalry between Virginia Tech and West Virginia, dormant since 2005, will be reignited sooner than expected in the Washington area.

The Washington Redskins announced in a joint news release Tuesday that the Hokies will kick off the 2017 season on Sept. 2 at FedEx Field by playing a nonconference game against the Mountaineers.

The former Big East rivals have faced one another 51 times, including every year between 1973 and 2005 when they competed annually for the Black Diamond Trophy, a reference to the region’s history with the coal industry.

“It is an exciting matchup for both schools’ fans to look forward to,” Virginia Tech Athletic Director Whit Babcock said in a statement. “I appreciate the work of Coach [Frank] Beamer and associate AD John Ballein in arranging this extremely strong nonconference matchup. Not only will the game renew a passionate rivalry, it will also be played at a site that is centered in a major alumni base for both schools.”

The rivalry came to an end temporarily, in part, because of fan-safety concerns and the Hokies’ move to the ACC. But any residual tension officially dissipated last July when Virginia Tech and West Virginia signed a contract to play a home-and-home series in 2021 and 2022.

That Babcock agreed to a one-time neutral site game in 2017 likely means Notre Dame will visit Blacksburg, Va., in 2018 as part of its ACC scheduling rotation. Virginia Tech moved a game against Delaware to Sept. 9 in order to face the Mountaineers, and the Hokies are also scheduled to play East Carolina and Old Dominion in nonconference action in 2017.

This will be Virginia Tech’s fourth game at FedEx Field. The Hokies are 0-3 in their previous visits, with losses to Southern California (2004), Boise State (2010) and Cincinnati (2012).

West Virginia beat James Madison at FedEx Field in 2012 and is also scheduled to play there again against BYU in 2016.

Mark Giannotto is a Montgomery County native who covers high school sports for The Washington Post. He previously covered Virginia and Virginia Tech football for five years.
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