Can’t ACC-ount for ’16: Hokies focused on ’17 not 2016 ACC championship vs. Clemson

Posted at 11:35 PM, Sep 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-26 23:35:41-04

Quarterback Josh Jackson of Virginia Tech drops back to pass. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

BLACKSBURG, Va. - In two seasons, Justin Fuente has won 14 of his 18 games as Virginia Tech head football coach. This week, he has no interest in talking about one of those four losses.

“We haven't talked about it and we won’t talk about it," Fuente said when asked how Hokies players have handled last season's loss to Clemson in the 2016 ACC title game. "This is a completely different situation. We’ve got guys that played in that game that are no longer here and so do they. So we won’t use it as a reference point for this week.”

Clemson, on its way to the 2016 national title, defeated the Hokies 42-35 in the 2016 ACC Championship.

The rematch angle is just one layer of Saturday's gigantic showdown in Blacksburg between the 2nd ranked tigers and number 12 Virginia Tech.

The last time Lane Stadium played host to a pair of top 12 teams? September 26, 2009 when 11th ranked Tech beat number nine Miami. While it's a massive matchup, Fuente knows his team can't win a national title just by knocking-off the reigning national champs in September.

Virginia Tech head football coach Justin Fuente

“I see it as our first conference game," Fuente explained. "I know its highly ranked and a big stage and all of those sorts of things but I see it as our first conference game against the defending National Champions at our place. We’re in our second year here we’ve had one recruiting class. It’ll be a great opportunity to play a great football team, other than that’s about the context I see with it.”

ESPN's College Gameday, the most popular pregame show in sports, will broadcast live from Virginia Tech Saturday from 9am to Noon.