Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall was not hesitant to move onto Friday’s game with No. 23 Virginia Tech in the aftermath of the Cavaliers’ 55-27 victory over Liberty on Saturday.
There was more than one reason to address the subject.
Most importantly, Friday’s Hokies-UVa game at Scott Stadium holds a winner-take-all scenario when it comes to claiming the Coastal Division title and a trip to the ACC Championship, where defending national champion Clemson awaits.
And then there’s the streak — the one that tends to be a morale booster to Hokies’ fans, but somewhat the opposite to Cavs’ backers. Virginia Tech has not lost to Virginia since it joined the ACC in 2004 — a run that now includes 15 games.
That streak needs to end on Friday if UVa wants to advance to a title game it has yet to play in since it was first played after the 2005 regular season.
Mendenhall had spoken about the Hokies on earlier occasions but clearly had morphed into Tech mode by the end of his press conference Saturday.
“It’s a delicate balance because the reality is that the University of Virginia has not had much success in that game,” Mendenhall said.
“Managing that could certainly be a contributing factor. However, we’re talking now about an opponent that has qualified for  straight bowl games and has made a commitment to football that has lasted for a long time.
“We are making that commitment and are resurgent. Now that we’ve said all that, it becomes interference.”
This is the third time the Cavs and Hokies have played with the championship game on the line. The Hokies won 33-21 at Charlottesville in 2007, and 38-0 in 2011, again at Scott Stadium.
Mendenhall is 0-3 against the Hokies, but things have improved since his first team lost 52-10 at Blacksburg in 2016. That was followed by a 10-0 loss at home in 2017 and a 34-31 overtime setback at Lane Stadium last year.
“It really is all about the games, not anything else,” he said. “Anything that allows us to drift out of that really works counter to our preparation.”
Virginia Tech is going for its seventh trip to the title game. The Hokies were last there in 2016, but haven’t been crowned ACC champions since beating Florida State 44-33 in the 2010 edition.
Certainly after their 45-10 home loss to Duke on Sept. 27 that dropped them to 0-2 in ACC play, the outlook at the time was not good for the Hokies. Since then, they have won six of seven and shut out their last two opponents to reach this point.
“I’m enjoying every moment with them,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said after his team’s 28-0 win over Pitt. “They’re a special group of young men. They’ve been through special circumstances and stuck together. So my feelings toward them haven’t changed because they’re winning games now. I’m more happy for them because they are getting some affirmation for their hard work.”