CHARLOTTESVILL;E, Va. (AP) Virginia Tech isn't accustomed to this.
The Hokies (5-6, 2-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), are in last place in the Coastal Division and will go into their final home game against Virginia needing a victory to extend their bowl streak to 22 years.
The teams' annual end of the regular season showdown comes Friday night at Lane Stadium.
The Hokies also are coming of a horrid offensive showing in a 6-3 double overtime loss at Wake Forest, but in many ways have history on their side. They have won the last 10 meetings in the rivalry, and 14 of the last 15. On the other hand, they have lost four of their last five this season and are 2-4 at home.
Wide receiver Willie Byrn is feeling the heat to keep traditions alive in Blacksburg.
''I don't want to be on the team that lost to UVA and I don't want to be on the team that didn't get to go to a bowl,'' the fifth-year senior said. ''I don't know what that feels like and ... people who've played here for the last 25 years don't know what that feels like. So it's a little bit of pressure but ... if you're not excited for this game, if all that's riding on this doesn't get you excited and you don't want to be at your very best in this most pivotal moment, then you don't deserve to be on the field.''
Especially when the opponent is playing to reach some of the very same goals.
The Cavaliers (5-6, 3-4) are looking to qualify for their first bowl game since 2011 and coming off perhaps their best performance of the season. They dominated Miami 30-13 in a game that wasn't that close on Saturday night to end a four-game losing streak, and now have another daunting streak to overcome.
Virginia has lost nine consecutive road games since winning at N.C. State on Nov. 2, 2012.
The game is just another games, but not really, Cavaliers linebacker Daquan Romero said.
''Of course it's big because we're both 5-6 and going to a bowl, that's everybody's goal, so in that aspect, it's just a big game, big for me and for the team. It's just another game to go out there and play,'' Romero said Monday. ''Just to go out there and get the win, it would mean everything.''
The Hokies and coach Frank Beamer know how that goes, and feels. Beamer is in his 28th year coaching at his alma mater, and has an 18-9 record against the Cavaliers. He's fond of saying that he's never been to a bad bowl game, and has come to appreciate the extra few weeks of practice a bowl appearance allows a team to get.
The Hokies' bowl streak is the second-longest in the nation. Florida State has been to bowl for 32 consecutive years.
Respecting and extending the streak is important, Hokies sophomore fullback Sam Rogers said, but the players need to be careful not to allow the prospect of disappointing cause them to play cautiously.
''I guess we can say that's important,'' the former walk-on said, ''but we don't want to be in the position that we're thinking we're playing not to lose and not to give this up. We've got to play to win. ''We've got to come out and attack. That's what we're going to do Friday night. We can't really control all that outside pressure.
''All we can control is how we play, and that's what we've got to do.''
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