BLACKSBURG, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Justin Fuente has faced Virginia three times in his tenure as head football coach at Virginia Tech. The fourth will come this Friday afternoon at Scott Stadium, with a spot in the ACC Championship at stake.
"It's as heated and as important a rivalry as there is," Fuente said on Monday. "And when both teams have had some success, I think it enhances that."
Tech is an early 2 1/2-point favorite heading into Friday's 101st all-time meeting between the two cross-state rivals. He's 3-0 against the Cavaliers, extending a winning streak in the series that dates back to 2004.
The Hokies have overcome an 0-2 start in ACC play to put themselves a win away from the program's seventh Coastal Division title. Two of those previous division championships have been secured with wins against UVA at Scott Stadium -- in 2007 and 2011.
"It's good for the Commonwealth that teams are having fairly successful years," Fuente said. "The thing about competition and rivalries and all that sort of stuff is, when you're in it, it still comes down to execution."
"There's a lot at stake, no matter what," Fuente added. "We understand that."
Two months ago, the Hokies were reeling after a 45-10 loss to Duke at Lane Stadium. But they've only lost one game since -- on a last-second touchdown by Notre Dame in South Bend. Tech hasn't even allowed a point in their last nine quarters, including back-to-back shutouts of Coastal opponents Georgia Tech and Pitt to set the stage for Friday afternoon.
"A lot of us would have given up a lot to be in the position we're in right now," Tech senior tight end Dalton Keene said on Monday. "And it came, after that Duke game we decided to make a change and take it one game at a time, and that's what got us here. UVA's a really good team, and it's going to be a battle for the Coastal."