The Black Diamond Trophy is staying in Morgantown for years to come, as the Mountaineers rolled into Blacksburg and ran over the Hokies, literally. 

West Virgnia rushed for 218 yards across three running backs, with the two-headed monster of CJ Donaldson and Justin Johnson Jr. accounting for a combined 189 yards and a touchdown. 

WVU also accounted for 203 yards and a touchdown in the air to keep Virginia Tech on its heels. 

The Mountaineer defense came to play, as the Hokies only registered 228 yards of total offense, with a mere 35 rushing yards. 

“It was a complete win,” head coach Neal Brown said. “I thought we played fast tonight. We were really physical.” 

The first half didn’t show much offensive firepower, but the Mountaineers were able to keep the game within their grasp with a strong defensive presence and an efficient run game. 

Running back CJ Donaldson rushed for 56 yards on 11 first half carries and showed his ability to cut hard up field against the Hokie defenders. 

The only first quarter points were scored by the Mountaineers when kicker Casey Legg connected on a 23-yard field goal. WVU was knocking on the door to score the game’s first touchdown, but the Virginia Tech defense stood tall. 

Before the first quarter ended, Virginia Tech’s offense started moving the ball downfield thanks to Marshall transfer quarterback Grant Wells. The Hokies moved the ball to the WVU 28-yard line after a crucial pass interference penalty on 3rd and 13 as the first quarter ended. 

On the first play of the second quarter, Wells connected on a 28-yard touchdown pass to Kaleb Smith to put Virginia Tech ahead 7-3. 

After recovering a Tony Mathis fumble, the Hokies had a golden opportunity to take a two-possession lead once they moved the ball into WVU territory. The Mountaineer defensive line came up big, stopping the Hokies on a 3rd and one run and a quarterback sneak on fourth down. 

With just over five minutes left in the half, WVU cut the Virginia Tech lead to 7-6 when Legg connected on a 35-yard field goal. The Mountaineers let another potential touchdown drive slip away, but they would get another opportunity before the clock hit zero. 

WVU forced a Virginia Tech punt and took over at the Hokie 30-yard line with 1:01 left in the half and quarterback JT Daniels went to work. 

Daniels led the Mountaineers quickly down the field after finding Mike O’Laughlin and Kaden Prather multiple times. With 17 seconds left, Daniels found Sam James over the middle for a 24-yard touchdown pass. 

The Mountaineers took a 13-7 lead into the locker room. 

“It was big,” Brown said about the quick drive. “I felt like we were in control of the game, but the scoreboard didn’t say that. From that drive on, we were in control. 

After a couple of first down passes from Daniels and some strong runs by Donaldson and Johnson, WVU was in business on its first possession of the second half. On third down, a Daniels pass was dropped in the end zone, so the Mountaineers walked away with three points, extending the lead to 16-7. 

The Hokies connected on a 44-yard field goal on the ensuing possession, but WVU answered with more strong runs. 

Johnson rushed for a total of 34 yards on three straight plays to get the Mountaineers rolling. WVU was faced with a fourth down from the Hokie 39-yard line, but Neal Brown elected to go for it. The Mountaineers picked up the first down when Virginia Tech got called for roughing the passer.  

On the third play of the fourth quarter, Johnson capped the drive off with an eight-yard touchdown to put the Mountaineers up 23-10. 

After the Johnson touchdown, the WVU defense forced Virginia Tech into another punt. The Mountaineers extended their lead to 26-10 when Legg converted on his fourth field goal of the night. 

With just under 10 minutes left, WVU put the nail in the coffin when freshman Jacolby Spells intercepted Wells’s pass and took it back 27-yards for a touchdown. 

West Virginia won the game by the score of 33-10, ensuring that the Black Diamond Trophy would stay in Morgantown. 

After the win, the Mountaineers got to celebrate with the trophy on the field as a team. 

“These are the moments you’ll never forget,” defensive lineman Jordan Jefferson said after the game. “I’m sure it (the trophy) will be in Morgantown for a long time.” 

Photo by WVU Football Twitter