BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) – The behemoths are coming to Blacksburg.

That’s about the way the Virginia Tech Hokies size up tonight’s game against No. 13 Boston College.

The Eagles are huge, and they can run.

Of course, the third-ranked Hokies are big and fast, too – and they plan to run right at BC.

“We’re taking the whole thing – their line and that defense – as a challenge,” right guard Jason Murphy said. “We’re going to do what Virginia Tech does. We’re going to pound the ball at them. If it breaks, it breaks.”

The Hokies (7-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won 10 consecutive Thursday night games, their only Thursday night loss coming against the Eagles in 1995.

That was the year their program took a major step forward in prominence, going to the Sugar Bowl and beating Texas, so they know Boston College can be formidable.

The Eagles (6-1, 3-1) will arrive having won 13 of 16 on the road. Five of those victories came against ranked teams, including the No. 12 Hokies in 2003.

But this Virginia Tech team is different from that one, Hokies senior defensive tackle Jonathan Lewis said, having learned from three straight season-ending swoons.

“In the beginning, we had tremendous successes in all types of things,” Lewis said. “Rushing averages, how many rushing yards given up, how many touchdowns given up. And then we kind of fell. I think we learned that lesson about getting our heads too big.”

Last year, that lesson allowed Virginia Tech to surprise the league in its debut season, winning the conference title after being picked sixth.

This year, it’s all about keeping the momentum going.

“Whatever they come at us with, we’re going to take care of it,” Murphy said.

To Eagles coach Tom O’Brien, very familiar with the Hokies from eight years in the Big East together and 16 before that as an assistant at Virginia, the Hokies’ formula for success hasn’t changed much in 19 seasons under coach Frank Beamer.

Boston College’s formula, meantime, includes either ignoring the venue or using the passion of opposing fans to get just as juiced by noise as the home team.

“I think they just like to play football,” O’Brien said of the Eagles, whose road victories this season came at BYU and Clemson. “We get great crowds on the road. They’re enthusiastic, they’re loud from start to finish.

“I think our players respond a lot to the enthusiasm a great crowd brings. When you go into a Clemson, you go into a Blacksburg, it’s hard not to be excited to play.”

It helps to show up with an offensive line that averages 6-foot-6 and almost 316 pounds, or a defense that limited No. 10 Florida State to 13 rushing yards.

No problem, Hokies tailback Cedric Humes said. Humes will return to the lineup only 19 days after breaking a bone in his arm in a victory against Marshall.

“We’re up for any team,” he said. “We have a lot of speed on our team now. Our line’s been blocking great, so I don’t think their size will be too much of a problem.”

It will help that the Hokies will be back home, surrounded by more than 67,000 fired up fans who have made Lane Stadium an imposing place for visitors.

The Hokies have won 15 of 17 at home in the last three seasons, and this year have outscored visitors by a combined 137-21.

“Their energy has always been a big key for us,” tight end Jeff King said.

More than the environment, though, O’Brien is impressed by Marcus Vick, who threw three interceptions last Thursday night in a 28-9 victory at Maryland, but also ran for a career-best 133 yards and is still sixth in the nation in passing efficiency.

“He’s very athletic, has tremendous speed, great quickness,” O’Brien said. “He has a terrific arm and can throw any pass you want thrown on the football field.”

Vick has tossed 10 TD passes and five interceptions.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.