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Pelini: Tech ‘good test’

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Three games into the season, Nebraska’s identity under first-year coach Bo Pelini remains a mystery with the Big 12 opener against Missouri looming.
The unbeaten Cornhuskers should get a better idea of themselves after Virginia Tech visits Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
‘‘We feel we’ve played some quality opponents up to this point, but it’ll be good to have a little more of a high-profile game,’’ Pelini said Monday. ‘‘It’ll be a good test for us.’’
The Hokies (3-1) will be the first opponent from a BCS conference for Nebraska (3-0), which has beaten Western Michigan, San Jose State and New Mexico State. The game will be the Huskers’ final tuneup before No. 6 Missouri visits Oct. 4.
The Hokies, who lost to East Carolina in their opener, have followed a win over Furman with back-to-back 20-17 victories against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents Georgia Tech and North Carolina.
‘‘They’re a good team with a very outstanding reputation and a lot of tradition,’’ Pelini said. ‘‘They’ve played well over a long period of time. We know we’ll have our work cut out for us, but we don’t approach it any different.’’
Virginia Tech rallied from 14 points down in the third quarter to beat North Carolina on Saturday. That tied for the second-largest second-half comeback in coach Frank Beamer’s 22 years as head coach.
‘‘That was one of the really good wins for this program,’’ Beamer said Monday.
Virginia Tech and Nebraska are playing the first of two games in a home-and-home series. The Huskers visit Blacksburg next year.
‘‘You’re playing one of the great all-time programs. You say Nebraska, you think of college football. Big time,’’ Beamer said. ‘‘Myself and a lot of these kids haven’t been there. We look forward to coming and seeing the atmosphere.’’
The Hokies and Huskers have played once, in the 1996 Orange Bowl. Nebraska won 41-21 after breaking open a three-point game late in the third quarter.
‘‘I thought they taught us what it took to be big-time that night,’ Beamer said. ‘‘We hung in there with them with our first group, but that second and third group Nebraska had, that’s what got us.’’
That Orange Bowl game came near the beginning of Virginia Tech’s emergence on the national college football scene. Since 1995, the Hokies’ total of 129 wins trails only Ohio State (133) and Florida (130). Virginia Tech has had 12 top-20 finishes over the past 15 years, including five in the top 10 during the last decade.
Virginia Tech is one of only three teams with Southern California and Texas to win at least 10 games each of the past four seasons.

For Nebraska, the 1996 Orange Bowl came in the middle of a four-year run that during which the Huskers won three national titles (1994, 1995 and 1997). Pelini is the Huskers’ third head coach since then. He inherited a program that has had losing seasons two of the past four years.

AP-ES-09-22-08 1635EDT

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Pelini: Tech ‘good test’

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Three games into the season, Nebraska’s identity under first-year coach Bo Pelini remains a mystery with the Big 12 opener against Missouri looming.
The unbeaten Cornhuskers should get a better idea of themselves after Virginia Tech visits Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
‘‘We feel we’ve played some quality opponents up to this point, but it’ll be good to have a little more of a high-profile game,’’ Pelini said Monday. ‘‘It’ll be a good test for us.’’
The Hokies (3-1) will be the first opponent from a BCS conference for Nebraska (3-0), which has beaten Western Michigan, San Jose State and New Mexico State. The game will be the Huskers’ final tuneup before No. 6 Missouri visits Oct. 4.
The Hokies, who lost to East Carolina in their opener, have followed a win over Furman with back-to-back 20-17 victories against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents Georgia Tech and North Carolina.
‘‘They’re a good team with a very outstanding reputation and a lot of tradition,’’ Pelini said. ‘‘They’ve played well over a long period of time. We know we’ll have our work cut out for us, but we don’t approach it any different.’’
Virginia Tech rallied from 14 points down in the third quarter to beat North Carolina on Saturday. That tied for the second-largest second-half comeback in coach Frank Beamer’s 22 years as head coach.
‘‘That was one of the really good wins for this program,’’ Beamer said Monday.
Virginia Tech and Nebraska are playing the first of two games in a home-and-home series. The Huskers visit Blacksburg next year.
‘‘You’re playing one of the great all-time programs. You say Nebraska, you think of college football. Big time,’’ Beamer said. ‘‘Myself and a lot of these kids haven’t been there. We look forward to coming and seeing the atmosphere.’’
The Hokies and Huskers have played once, in the 1996 Orange Bowl. Nebraska won 41-21 after breaking open a three-point game late in the third quarter.
‘‘I thought they taught us what it took to be big-time that night,’ Beamer said. ‘‘We hung in there with them with our first group, but that second and third group Nebraska had, that’s what got us.’’
That Orange Bowl game came near the beginning of Virginia Tech’s emergence on the national college football scene. Since 1995, the Hokies’ total of 129 wins trails only Ohio State (133) and Florida (130). Virginia Tech has had 12 top-20 finishes over the past 15 years, including five in the top 10 during the last decade.
Virginia Tech is one of only three teams with Southern California and Texas to win at least 10 games each of the past four seasons.

For Nebraska, the 1996 Orange Bowl came in the middle of a four-year run that during which the Huskers won three national titles (1994, 1995 and 1997). Pelini is the Huskers’ third head coach since then. He inherited a program that has had losing seasons two of the past four years.

AP-ES-09-22-08 1635EDT

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