BLACKSBURG, Va. – The first Virginia Tech home football game of the season is an annual holiday for Hokie fans, but only a handful of them got to experience the action inside of Lane Stadium this season.
Virginia Tech only admitted 1,000 fans into the stadium due to COVID-19 precautions, which left many students looking for a different way to watch their team.
“I’ve been to a couple of games in person and nothing beats it,” said Virginia Tech freshman Chase Jaramillo. “However, we have to do what we can since COVID is happening.”
“It’s a very different feeling, but we’re all still super excited,” said Virginia Tech junior Dylan Winesett. “Me and my friends are still treating this game as regularly as we can.”
Many of the fans inside of Lane Stadium were friends or family of the players. That includes Quincy Johnson, who drove from Michigan to watch his nephew, cornerback Devin Taylor.
“I’m blessed,” Johnson said. "I’m going to be taking pictures and hollering like there are a million people in there.
Virginia Tech students on campus mostly chose between three options. Some walked down Beamer Way to watch the game from Lane Stadium’s big screen, and others experienced the game from downtown Blacksburg’s restaurants. However, Jaramillo and Winesett both said they watched the game from home.
“I’m watching in the dorms, watching with my friends,” Jaramillo said. “Whatever we do will be great.”
“I’m going to have a good time at my house,” Winesett said. “I’ll be playing a lot of loud music, that’s for sure.”
Virginia Tech students largely understand why access is restricted to the stadium, but many agree there is no experience like a game day in normal times.
“It’s a feeling like no other,” Winesett said. “I played high school sports, and it reminds me of running into the stadium myself.”