West Virginia and Virginia Tech will renew their rivalry on Thursday night in Blacksburg.

The former Big East members played each year from 1973-2005 before conference realignment led the Hokies to the ACC. Since then, the programs have played just twice — at FedEx Field in 2017 and in Morgantown in 2021.

Thursday night’s matchup will complete the home-and-home series and the stakes are high, as there are currently no future meetings scheduled between these programs. That means the winner on Thursday night could end up having bragging rights for a long, long time.

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West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech preview

Virginia Tech is in the first year of its rebuild under new head coach Brent Pry. The Hokies got off to a rough start with a Week 1 loss to Old Dominion, but have since been much-improved.

They’ve won back-to-back games over Boston College and Wofford by a combined 37 points. Quarterback Grant Wells, who threw 4 interceptions in the opener vs. Old Dominion, has 3 touchdown passes and 0 picks in the last 2 games.

Elsewhere on offense, Virginia Tech is still figuring out its playmakers on that side of the ball. With Malachi Thomas still nursing an injury, the Hokies’ rushing attack has been led by Keyshawn King (175 yards) and Jalen Holston (126 yards). Kaleb Smith is Virginia Tech’s leading receiver so far this season with 8 catches for 131 yards and 1 touchdown through 3 games.

Defensively, the Hokies are led by Dax Hollifield. He is performing at an all-ACC level to start the season — 23 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 pass deflections and 1 forced fumble. As a team, Virginia Tech is allow just 201 yards per game and 3.51 yards per play — by far the best marks in the ACC.

West Virginia is 1-2 this season, but picked up its first victory of the year in Week 3 vs. Towson. The Mountaineers suffered close losses to Pittsburgh and Kansas to start the year.

West Virginia’s offense vs. Virginia Tech’s defense will be the matchup to watch in this game. WVU is averaging 509.7 yards per game to start the year. That group is led by quarterback JT Daniels and a pair of excellent running backs: Tony Mathis and CJ Donaldson.

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Both Mathis and Donaldson are each over 200 total rushing yards to start the year already. West Virginia’s efficient rushing attack allowed the Mountaineers to keep things close vs. Pitt in the season-opener. Donaldson, a true freshman, rushed for 125 yards in that game.

Defensively, West Virginia has struggled in its games vs. FBS opposition. Both teams had no issues executing what their offensive identity is — Pitt threw for 308 yards while the Jayhawks were able to rush for 200 yards. Both teams averaged over 6 yards per play.

West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech prediction

Virginia Tech is a home underdog in this matchup, and that might be a mistake. If Grant Wells can protect the football, the Hokies should be able to do enough offensively to win this game. Virginia Tech’s defense is tough enough to frustrate WVU’s high-powered attack. The sold-out crowd at Lane Stadium could play a role, too.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 27, West Virginia 24