Hokies try to reclaim hope against Miami

Updated: October 30, 2003, 6:34 PM ET

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech's road to a Bowl Championship Series berth became tougher after a loss, and the way to get back on track remains perfectly clear: beat Miami.

The Hokies get that chance Saturday night, when they'll be back on their home field and in front of the fans who celebrated through five of the six victories that preceded the Morgantown meltdown.

"We've just got to get ourselves back in the picture because after the West Virginia game, a lot of people looked down on us," cornerback Eric Green said.

Instead of the game of the year, Miami's visit is the Hokies' only chance to undo most of the damage done in the 28-7 embarrassing loss to West Virginia. A victory would at least get the No. 10 Hokies back in the Big East race.

"This game right here, we can pretty much clean everything up," Green said. "Anybody can clean anything up once you beat Miami. I think this is our opportunity. We beat these guys and then go on from there."

It won't be easy. The No. 2 Hurricanes (7-0, 3-0 Big East) have won 27 straight in conference play and 39 in a row in the regular season. They've also won three in a row in the series since a 43-10 loss here in 1999.

Many of the experts who had the Hokies ranked third in the AP media and coaches' polls -- and in the BCS standings -- reacted to the loss like it was inevitable because of the Hokies' weak nonconference schedule. The slate included Central Florida, Division I-AA James Madison, Texas A&M and Connecticut, and all four played before sellout, rowdy crowds at Lane Stadium.

Now, the Hokies have to do something they've only done twice in 22 tries under coach Frank Beamer -- beat a team in the top 10.

Beamer, who watched with disbelief as his team unraveled against the Mountaineers, said this game will show a lot about his team's mettle.

His players agree.

"Now that we've had time to reflect on what's happened, we can really prove something about what kind of inner strength this team has if we can pull together and get a big win this week," linebacker Brandon Manning said. "This is a great opportunity for us to show what we're made of."

Cornerback Vincent Fuller, who scored Virginia Tech's touchdown against West Virginia, is eager to prove the Hokies' doubters wrong.

"It's going to show us and show our fans and show the country what kind of character we have," he said. "It's definitely the kind of scenario you dream of, playing the best in the country."

It's big talk considering the challenge, but Manning said familiarity with the Hurricanes strips away some of their aura of invincibility.

"It's just exciting to play another team with the same amount of athletic ability as us because we know it's going to come down to who plays the better game," he said.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index