Virginia Tech Football: An Ode to Thursday Nights in Lane Stadium


Virginia Tech football has a great tradition of games on Thursday nights at Lane Stadium.

I can only think of one other sports venue I like more than Lane Stadium on Thursday night.  That one place would be Fenway Park when the Sox are drilling the Yankees, but that is neither here nor there.  There are few places more magical than Lane Stadium on Thursday nights, under the lights.  The electricity is in the air, the atmosphere is almost indescribable.

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Well almost, I believe the atmosphere is one of complete and utter excitement, with general insanity sprinkled in there for good measure.  That insanity and excitement reach a boiling point and explodes into the night sky as soon as those few simple chords of “Enter Sandman” drift from the loud speakers.

You might think I am being funny or a little too dramatic in my description of Lane Stadium but trust me I am not.  Of the three of us that write here for the Fighting Gobbler, I can honestly say I have attended more Thursday night games than anyone.  I have been going to Hokie games since I was 7.

I remember the stellar games played by the Hokies and I remember the heartbreaking losses where fans went home wishing it was a bad dream.  I still hate Matt Ryan for making an already miserable rainy night that much worse.  The good times however, have been more than the bad times.  Our Hokies seem to like Thursday night almost as much as the fans do.

When those bright lights come on the Hokies seem to shine the brightest.  There have been Hokies who have made a name for themselves on Thursday night.  Deangelo Hall, Antonio Freeman, Mike Vick and Darren Evans made a name nationally for themselves with the whole country watching.  The games have been exciting to say the least.

Last year, Hokie Nation, along with the country, was deprived of this Thursday night spectacle for only the second time since the 1999 season (Hokie Fans remember that miracle season well).  ESPN has to love coming to Blacksburg because not only is the game a stellar one but the crowd makes it unbelievable for the TV audience.

If you google Virginia Tech Enter Sandman entrance, the top video is from a Thursday night game with Miami.   Virginia Tech has taken the Thursday night tradition and made it their own.  Some coaches hate the short week of preparation. Frank Beamer and the Hokies embrace it.

Even bad weather can’t keep the Hokie Nation down on Thursday.  Two games I remember well were highlighted by torrential downpours.  The first was a game against Texas A&M in 2003. There was a hurricane coming through but yet Lane Stadium still was alive that night as the Hokies won convincingly behind a ground attack led by Kevin Jones.  That game earned the nickname the Maroon Monsoon game.

Nov 8, 2012; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies cheerleader performs in the first half at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The next was not as happy as it occurred against the Boston College Eagles.  Matt Ryan earned his nickname “Matty Ice” as he led the Eagles to two last second drives to beat the Hokies.  That game might have been the rainiest game I have ever been to of all my Virginia Tech games.

Through all the ups and downs of the seasons from the past seasons, I always circle a Thursday night game at home as a win for the Hokies.  Maybe I circle it more as a win for myself as I love the atmosphere and cherish each game I get to attend.  This year, I will get to share the experience for the first time with my wife, who has never been to a Thursday night game or even a night game in Blacksburg.

I hope the game lives up to all the hype I have been filling her head with for the months leading up to this game.  Who am I kidding it will exceed the hype.  Hokie fans, let’s make the Maroon Effect a game to remember.  Let’s make Lane Stadium the Terror Dome we remember from years past and truly create the home field advantage our fans are known for.


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