It will be the last battle for the Black Diamond Trophy in the near future when West Virginia and Virginia Tech face off on Thursday night. The Mountaineers come into this game having just picked up their first win of the year in a 65-7 route of Towson, while the Hokies come into this game having won two straight games and having just defeated Wofford 27-7.

Last year’s edition of this game featured these two teams going down to the wire. Then No. 15 Virginia Tech came into Morgantown and lost to the Mountaineers 27-21 on a goal line stand. Both teams look quite different than they did this time last year, and both teams are searching for a marquee win.

Ashley O’Brien: This game is a make or break for Coach Brown. After a disappointing start to the season, the one-win Mountaineers travel to Blacksburg for a Thursday night matchup with lots on the line. If West Virginia can pull off this win, there will hopefully be an increased level of confidence going into Austin, Texas. The Mountaineers make some mind -boggling mistakes at times, but keep the Black Diamond Trophy for another year.

WVU 24, VT 21

Wesley Shoemaker: If you are West Virginia, this game should not be close. West Virginia’s offensive firepower is elite and they are going against a similar play style on defense that they went up against in week one versus Pitt. In that game the Mountaineer defensive line dominated and I expect them to have their fingerprints all over this game. As for offense, the stoic, calm, collected JT Daniels should be able to move the ball down the field. The Mountaineers will be relying upon Daniels and company to lead this team as the Mountaineers are 11th in the country in scoring offense. I think if the Mountaineers get an early score and are able to somewhat take the crowd out of it they should be just fine. It won’t be easy in the beginning, but Neal Brown and company will be 2-2 heading into Texas.

WVU 34, VT, 21

Aaron Parker: The battle for the Black Diamond Trophy is back for a second straight season, and this time, the Hokie faithful will get their chance to have an influence on the game. Despite the atmosphere, I think the Mountaineers will get a rare road win against a power five team. I think WVU’s offense will continue to put up points behind JT Daniels and Bryce Ford-Wheaton and I think the Mountaineer defense will get a crucial interception off Grant Wells late in the game. I think Virginia Tech makes it close, but I think the trophy stays in Morgantown.

WVU 34, VT 28

Rachel Libert: A big win against Towson last week was exactly what West Virginia needed in order to get back on its feet to compete against Virginia Tech Thursday night. The Mountaineers are looking to defend the Black Diamond Trophy, and I think this game will be a close one throughout the first half. Blacksburg is definitely a tough atmosphere to play in, but I think WVU’s offense will continue to be successful with JT Daniels’ connection to Bryce Ford-Wheaton. The Mountaineers’ defense also bounced back last week, holding Towson scoreless other than the kick return, which was at the fault of special teams. If the offense can continue to produce and Dante Stills continues to lead the defense, I think the Mountaineers will get their first road win of the season. It will be close, but ultimately, West Virginia’s passing game is going to be what sets these two teams apart. 

WVU 34, VT 20

Jenks O’Donovan: Although it will be challenging in a raucous Lane Stadium Thursday night, I believe Neal Brown and his team will pull out the victory in the end. Dante Stills and the defense will build off the momentum they gained last week and constantly pressure Grant Wells throughout the game. While the Hokies are fifth in total defense, their toughest opponent, Boston College, is certainly not an offensive juggernaut. JT Daniels, CJ Donaldson, and Byce Ford-Wheaton are the first real test for the Hokies’ defense, and the trio will be too much for Virginia Tech to handle. The Mountaineers improve to 2-2, keeping their hopes for a bowl game alive. 

WVU 28, VT 24

Matt Natriello: Coming off a dominant win in their make right game, WVU gets to hop right into another rivalry game against VT. The West Virginia offense is cooking, and the defense is making adjustments and should hopefully be able to contain a struggling VT offense. West Virginia will be able to retain the Black Diamond trophy, despite a rowdy night crowd at Lane Stadium.  

WVU 35, VT 24

Tyler Prusina: WVU will be heading into one of the most electric stadiums in the country to play a Virginia Tech team that has seen its struggles on offense. If the Moutaineer secondary can hold their ground and make a Virginia Tech quaterback, who has seen his fair share of interceptions, struggle, I think this will make the difference. the WVU offense has been strong and I do not see it slowing down this game by any means. The experience at the quarterback and wide receiver postions and the young talent at the running back position will help propel WVU to there second win of the year. 

WVU 27, VT 21