Nov. 3, 1984 — Virginia 27, West Virginia 7. En route to their first bowl bid, the Cavaliers earned their first national ranking in 32 years by manhandling the No. 12 Mountaineers in Morgantown. West Virginia had just defeated Boston College ( Doug Flutie's Heisman season) and Penn State in succession, but U.Va.'s Steve Morse and Howard Petty ran at will.
Dec. 1, 1984 — Army 28, Navy 11. The 19th of 25 consecutive Army-Navy games my father and I attended, and the only one I spent in the press box. From the pregame parade to the postgame academy hymns, Army-Navy is more spectacle than game. Dad and I ended our Army-Navy streak in 1990, and he died in 1992. I haven't gone back since.
Dec. 31, 1984 — Virginia 27, Purdue 24. The first bowl (Peach) in the Cavaliers' 96-year history. Hampton High graduate Kenny Stadlin kicked the winning field goal midway through the fourth quarter. I then rushed to the Atlanta airport, wrote during a flight to D.C., filed from a pay phone and rang in '85 with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes at Warner Theater.
Sept. 2, 1988 — Tabb 10, Hampton 7. Those foolish enough not to arrive hours before kickoff at Bailey Field parked along Route 17 for the season-opening epic. Terry Kirby punished the Crabbers for 187 rushing yards, 45 on a last-minute fourth-and-1. He dedicated the win to his parents, who were celebrating their wedding anniversary.
Sept. 17, 1988 — Florida State 24, Clemson 21. Bobby Bowden called the most daring fake punt in memory as his visiting Seminoles toppled the No. 3 Tigers. The "puntrooskie" — think hidden-ball trick — came on fourth-and-4 from the 21 with 1:33 left in a tie game. LeRoy Butler ran 78 yards to the 1, and Richie Andrews kicked the winning field goal.
Sept. 8, 1990 — Virginia 20, Clemson 7. Scott Stadium lost a goalpost as the Cavaliers ended their 0-29 futility against the Tigers. Peninsula products Kirby (4-yard touchdown run), Chris Slade (sack and forced fumble) and Jason Wallace (79-yard punt return to set up final touchdown) shined. In 15 subsequent games against the Tigers, the Cavaliers are 7-7-1.
Nov. 3, 1990 — Georgia Tech 41, Virginia 38. The Cavaliers' three surreal weeks at No. 1 ended as Scott Sisson's last-minute, 37-yard field goal tumbled between the uprights for the visiting Yellow Jackets in the first-ever November collision of unbeaten ACC teams. Quarterback Shawn Moore and receiver Herman Moore were brilliant in defeat.
Nov. 4, 1994 — Hampton 22, Phoebus 21. Then in its infancy, the Peninsula's fiercest rivalry has yet to surpass this overtime clash of unbeatens. The Phantoms' Antwoine Womack scored first in OT. Freshman Ronald Curry countered, after which Crabbers coach Mike Smith disdained the tying extra point. Curry found Noell Rainey for the winning two-point conversion.
Aug. 26, 1995 — Michigan 18, Virginia 17. Commencing a wild season, the Cavs strutted into the Big House and led 17-0 early in the fourth quarter, thanks in part to Tiki Barber's 81-yard touchdown run. But on the final play, freshman Scott Dreisbach threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Mercury Hayes to prompt the loudest roar I've ever heard (the sellout crowd was 101,444).
Sept, 23, 1995 — Virginia Tech 13, Miami 7. The turning point for Frank Beamer's program. The Hokies were 0-2 in the season, 0-13 all-time against the Canes. Lose here and the season is toast. Instead, Tech abused a Ray Lewis-led defense for 300 yards rushing, 165 by Dwayne Thomas, to start a 10-game winning streak that ended with a Big East title and Sugar Bowl conquest of Texas.
Nov. 2, 1995 — Virginia 33, Florida State 28. The Cavaliers' finest moment at Scott Stadium and the Seminoles' first ACC defeat (FSU had been 29-0 in it). A Thursday night national telecast as well. Forgotten keys for Virginia: Rafael Garcia (4-for-4 on field goals, none chip shots) and Will Brice (47-yard punting average and four downed inside FSU's 10).
Nov. 28, 1998 — Virginia 36, Virginia Tech 32. The Cavaliers' most recent victory in Blacksburg. Newport News native Aaron Brooks passed for 345 yards and three touchdowns to lead U.Va.'s greatest comeback ever (22-point deficit). The rally improved the Cavs to 9-2, only the third nine-win regular season in program history.
Sept. 18, 1999 — Hampton 52, Bethel 0. Mike Smith's 300th victory as the Crabbers' coach was routine. But his preparation, which I shadowed from Sunday morning's tape session to Saturday's pregame pep talk, was remarkable. Then 58, Smith was nail-spittin' mad when Hurricane Floyd interrupted his routine. He vowed to coach until he was 80. Don't be surprised.
Jan. 4, 2000 — Florida State 46, Virginia Tech 29. The world's fears of Y2K cyber meltdown proved unfounded. The Hokies' concerns of the Seminoles' myriad playmakers in the national title game were spot-on. Depth prevailed in New Orleans as FSU completed the first and only perfect season of Bowden's coaching career.
Sept. 22, 2001 — Virginia Tech 50, Rutgers 0. Hokies linebacker Brian Welch lost his father in the 1984 terrorist bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut. In their first game after the Sept. 11 attacks, Tech coaches asked Welch to carry the American flag while leading the team onto the field at Rutgers, not far from Ground Zero. On the second snap of his first career start, Welch intercepted a pass and returned it to the 1-yard line. Goose bumps, anyone?
Nov. 10, 2001 — Christopher Newport 14, Ferrum 11. As the Captains prepared for the de-facto conference title game, two players mourned the unexpected deaths of young cousins, and Coach Matt Kelchner welcomed his third child. The week concluded with a victory at Darling Stadium that secured a national playoff bid in the program's inaugural season.
Nov. 24, 2001 — William and Mary 47, Villanova 44. Of all the Tribe's pinball-frantic games in Coach Jimmye Laycock's 29 seasons, none tops this. The home victory clinched W&M's first playoff bid in five years and showcased Villanova's Brian Westbrook (332 all-purpose yards) and W&M's Komlan Lonergan (325 yards).
Dec. 8, 2001 — Phoebus 26, Patrick Henry of Ashland 7. The first of the Phantoms' four state championships was vintage Coach Bill Dee: Grind the opponent like Starbucks does coffee. Travis McCright rushed for 169 yards, Xavier Adibi for 155 in Richmond. Phoebus' final touchdown march was 17 plays, 85 yards and ran 9:05 off the fourth-quarter clock.
Jan. 4, 2003 — Falcons 27, Packers 7. Playoff football landscapes get no more iconic than Lambeau Field in the snow. The Packers were 11-0 at Lambeau in postseason, until Michael Vick outplayed Brett Favre amid the flurries. Making his playoff debut, Vick passed for 117 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 64 yards and, most important, did not commit a turnover.
Sept. 12, 2004 — Redskins 16, Buccaneers 10. The most revered Redskin of all (sorry, Sonny) returned triumphantly, after a 12-year absence, in front of more than 90,000 fawning faithful. Coach Joe Gibbs, who authored three Super Bowl championships, was back on the sideline, and all was well.
Dec. 4, 2004 — Virginia Tech 16, Miami 10. Less than two years after suing to block ACC expansion, the Hokies won the league in their first season of membership with this road victory. Bruton High grad Bryan Randall, the league player of the year, threw a 39-yard scoring pass to Eddie Royal, and the defense limited the Canes to 190 yards, their fewest in seven years.
Sept. 8, 2007 — LSU 48, Virginia Tech 7. There's little worth remembering about the Hokies' worst loss in 25 years. But the spectacle that is Death Valley after dark? Guitar Shorty, 68 years young, playin' and howlin' the blues the night before at Phil Brady's roadhouse? Now those are memories.
Nov. 10, 2007 — Virginia 48, Miami 0. The final game at football's most historic arena, the Orange Bowl, deserved better than the home team's astonishingly half-baked effort. Led by quarterback Jameel Sewell and linebacker Clint Sintim, the Cavaliers exposed the Hurricanes' disinterest early and often.
Sept. 27, 2008 — Virginia Tech 35, Nebraska 30. Football in Lincoln is different. A Cornhuskers home game attracts 4.5 percent, more than 80,000, of the state's residents, and each contest has sold out since 1962. Amid the Sea of Red, Tyrod Taylor quarterbacked the Hokies to their most compelling non-conference road victory of the Beamer Era.
Feb. 1, 2009 — Steelers 27, Cardinals 23. Mike Tomlin prefers the background, and in a Super Bowl replete with star turns from James Harrison, Ben Roethlisberger, Santonio Holmes, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and The Boss, he got his wish. Still, Pittsburgh's last-ditch victory made Tomlin, a Peninsula native, the youngest head coach — he was 36 — to win a Super Bowl.
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime.