LANDOVER, Md. — West Virginia will renew its highly charged rivalry against Virginia Tech with a neutral-site season opener at FedExField in 2017.
The announcement came Tuesday from the Washington Redskins—who may or may not be named the Redskins by the time that game is staged—and will mark WVU’s third game at the NFL stadium in a six-year span. The Mountaineers defeated James Madison 42-12 at FedEx in 2012 and will meet BYU there in 2016.
Former Big East counterparts, West Virginia and Virginia Tech remain slated to play a home-and-home series in 2021 and 2022, but this fast-forwards the rejuvenation of a series that had fans on both sides jonsing. (It also could mark the dawn of William Crest’s senior season.)
Though Redskins season ticketholders will receive first chance at tickets to the game slated for Sept. 2, 2017, the NFL’s largest stadium features a seating capacity of 85,000, meaning there should be plenty of quality spots for fans of the Mountaineers and Hokies. WVU’s win over James Madison drew 45,511 fans, a total somewhat in line with facing an FCS opponent.
“West Virginia University had a great experience at FedExField in 2012, and we are looking forward to playing there again against Virginia Tech,” said West Virginia athletics director Oliver Luck. “Not only do our players enjoy playing in NFL stadiums, West Virginia has a lot of alumni living in the Washington, D.C., metro area and playing at a great venue like FedExField gives our fans a road game that is in close proximity.”
West Virginia’s only other confirmed nonconference opponent for 2017 is East Carolina, meaning one spot remains open. That presumably will feature a money game in Morgantown against an FCS or lower-FBS team.