Stakes still big for Miami-Virginia Tech

Updated: October 31, 2003, 4:10 PM ET

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Miami and Virginia Tech play for the final time in the Big East, a showdown that can determine the season for both teams.

"If they win this game, it puts them right back where they want to be," Miami defensive end Thomas Carroll said. "If they lose the game, it puts us where we want to be."

The game at Lane Stadium on Saturday night lost some of its luster when Virginia Tech was beaten at West Virginia. Still, the stakes remain high.

The No. 2 Hurricanes (7-0, 3-0 Big East) could be on the road to a third straight national championship appearance, but they also have games against No. 19 Tennessee and at No. 25 Pittsburgh.

Virginia Tech (6-1, 2-1) probably dropped out of the national title chase with its 28-7 loss at West Virginia. The Hokies, however, would be right back in contention for the Big East's BCS berth with a victory.

The No. 10 Hokies (6-1, 2-1) often present an obstacle for Miami, which has won 39 in a row in the regular season overall. The streak is the second longest in Division I-A history, trailing only Oklahoma's 48 straight victories in 1953-57.

Two years ago, then-No. 1 Miami escaped 26-24 only after a tying 2-point conversion pass was dropped and a late Hokies drive ended in an interception. The Hurricanes went on to the national title.

Four years ago, the Hurricanes took a 10-0 lead in Blacksburg, then gave up 43 consecutive points in a 43-10 loss. Miami hasn't lost since in league play, having run off 27 consecutive victories.

With both schools jumping to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season, this is Virginia Tech's last chance to stop the streak.

The Hokies were stunned by how poorly they played at Morgantown, W.Va., unraveling with four turnovers and 13 penalties. For them, a game against Miami offers the perfect bounce-back opportunity.

"We're still in a place where we can make something happen," linebacker Michael Crawford said. "We still can tie for the Big East."

The Hurricanes already have beaten No. 23 Florida, No. 5 Florida State and needed a last-second field goal to beat West Virginia. Coach Larry Coker said he wishes the Hokies were still unbeaten, too.

"I think it's going to make them have more of a resolve because I think the importance of our game now steps up a level for both teams," he said.

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