Lincoln - Two of college football’s top programs are set to square off in a home-and-home series, as Nebraska and Virginia Tech have agreed to play each other in both 2008 and 2009, University of Nebraska Athletic Director Steve Pederson announced on Thursday.
Nebraska will open the two-game series with the Hokies at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln on Sept. 20, 2008. The two teams will face each other in the rematch at Lane Stadium/Worsham Field in Blacksburg, Va., on Sept. 19, 2009.
"Our goal is to play non-conference games against high-profile national opponents each season," Pederson said. "Virginia Tech has been one of the most successful programs in the country for more than a decade. This is a series that should be extremely enticing to fans of both schools, and college football fans in general. The trip to Blacksburg will also give our East Coast fans a great opportunity to see our team play."
The Huskers and Hokies have never faced each other in a regular-season game, but the two programs did do battle in the 1996 Orange Bowl. Nebraska ran to a 41-21 victory over Virginia Tech in the only previous meeting between the two schools, setting the stage for the Huskers’ 1997 undefeated national championship season.
Coach Bill Callahan leads Nebraska in his third year at Nebraska in 2006. The Huskers closed the 2005 season with momentum, finishing No. 24 in the final Associated Press national rankings after reeling off three straight wins to close the season.
Nebraska capped Callahan’s second season with a 32-28 victory over then-No. 20 Michigan in the MasterCard Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, after defeating Colorado 30-3 in Boulder and Kansas State 27-25 in Lincoln. The Huskers finished the year with an 8-4 overall record after making their 36th postseason bowl appearance in the last 37 years.
The Huskers also enter 2006 with an NCAA record streak of 275 consecutive sellouts at Memorial Stadium. Nebraska’s historic stadium has undergone an expansion during the offseason and will increase its capacity beyond 80,000 for the 2006 campaign.
"This will be an outstanding and challenging home-and-home series for our football program," Callahan said. "I have great respect for Coach Beamer and the program he has established at Virginia Tech. They are always a talented and well-coached team in every phase of their football."
Virginia Tech won the ACC Coastal Division championship with a 7-1 conference mark in 2005, before falling to Florida State in the Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game. The Hokies finished the season with an 11-2 overall record that included a 35-24 victory over Louisville in the 2006 Toyota Gator Bowl. They also ended the year ranked No. 7 in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls.
Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer will be entering his 20th season at the helm of the Hokies in 2006. Beamer has guided Virginia Tech to a 146-79-2 record in his career in Blacksburg, and owns a 188-102-4 overall career mark entering his 26th season as a head coach.
Beamer has led Virginia Tech to 13 consecutive bowl games and earned ACC Coach-of-the-Year honors in both 2004 and 2005. He was the national coach of the year in 1999. Over the past 13 seasons, the Hokies have produced a 132-39 record for an average of better than 10 wins against just three losses per season.
Before leading Virginia Tech to its first ACC title in 2004, Beamer led the Hokies to Big East championships in 1995, 1996 and 1999, when Tech battled Florida State in the Sugar Bowl for the national title.
The two games with Virginia Tech are the first announced contests for Nebraska in the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Nebraska kicks off its 2006 season on Sept. 2 against Louisiana Tech at Memorial Stadium. The Huskers’ 2006 schedule also includes games against both of last year’s participants in the national title game with a Sept. 16 date at USC and an Oct. 21 game against Texas in Lincoln.