Saturday marks the fifth time in the last five years that East Carolina University will face Virginia Tech, and is the third time in the past five years the Hokies come to town during family weekend.
In 2013, ECU faced off against the Hokies in the first match-up between the two, that would soon become a perennial game for years to come. VT took the first family weekend game, in a 15-10 thriller inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
In 2014, VT was ranked No. 14 nationally and was broadcasted live on the national stage. The game was hosted in Blacksburg, Virginia where former head coach Ruffin McNeill and his team took it to the Hokies. The Pirates upset Virginia Tech 28-21, evening the series 1-1. In the game, ECU hopped out to a 21-point lead in the first quarter, and lasted long enough to withstand the Hokies late comeback attempt.
McNeill battled against VT for his final game as ECU’s head coach in 2015. This family weekend will be remembered by threatening thunderstorms that cleared way for tailgating and pregame, but a torrential downpour early in the second quarter changed the sunny afternoon to a treacherous playing field for a majority of the game. No thunder or lightning was in the area, so the game was not delayed, and continued being played under the lights in a nearly flooded field.
The Pirates defeated the Hokies on the “Paint it Gold” day, 35-28 in another thriller for the books. Arguably the best play of the game was quarterback/running back James Summers delivering a 41-yard touchdown run in the slick rain-clogged field. Summers ran a read play to the left, once the defensive end bit onto the play, Summers was off to the races. When he reached the defensive backs on the defense, he hit a smooth spin move dazzling everyone in the stands.
The series record for the two teams sat at 2-1, before the 2016 season. With a new head coach in Scottie Montgomery at the front, ECU traveled to VT once again where the Hokies dominated the routing 54-17 to even the series at two all.
Now that it is tied up, the Hokies return to Dowdy Ficklen Stadium once again to settle what has become somewhat of a rivalry between the two. With it being family weekend and the game deemed “Paint it Gold” again, expect for the 2017 match-up to be filled with memories that will help write the history to come in the years of the university’s program.