At the ACC Kickoff on Friday in Charlotte, N.C., the AJC asked a series of questions of Georgia Tech’s opponents in the Coastal Division. In the second installment, players from all of Tech’s Coastal opponents shared their most fun road environment. The next set of answers will run Thursday morning, what they remember from last year’s game against the Yellow Jackets.
Byron Fields, cornerback, Duke
“Virginia Tech, definitely (a 13-10 upset of the then-No. 14 Hokies in October 2013. Fields missed the 2015 game.). It’s such an explosive environment. The fans feel like they’re right on top of you. The way the stands are, they kind of go vertical, so it feels like it’s right on top of you. It’s so loud. It’s a great environment.”
Mark Walton, running back, Miami
“I’d go with Florida State (a 29-24 Seminoles win in October 2015). The crowd’s just crazy. The loudest crowd I’ve been in.”
Bentley Spain, offensive tackle, North Carolina
“I’m not going to pinpoint one, but I’d say the most fun thing about a road game is, if it’s a really hostile environment and then you start doing well, and the hostility calms down and people get quiet.”
Avonte Maddox, cornerback, Pittsburgh
“Other than ours, I would say Clemson’s stadium is pretty fun (a 43-42 upset of the then-No. 2 Tigers in November 2016). It was electric. It was jumping. Just even coming to the game, there’s just tailgating miles and miles away from the game. It was a good feeling.”
Brian O’Neill, offensive tackle, Pittsburgh
“Clemson was fun. Just the whole environment, and for me personally, it was fun because I had 25-plus extended family members in attendance. And so for me, that was cool, being able to share that moment with them, the fact that they let all the fans on the field after the game. I was celebrating with my teammates and all of a sudden, my brother and three of my cousins tackled me to the ground, (that) was a lot of fun for me. The most fun was probably there.”
Kurt Benkert, quarterback, Virginia
Probably Oregon (a 44-26 Ducks win in September). I think Oregon, it was smaller than I expected, but everyone felt like they were right there and you could just reach over and touch someone on the sideline. And I hate that neon, that neon color. It made me feel like there were so many people there, and everybody just blended in together and they wore all neon that night, too. So, like, if you were looking at the defense, you couldn’t tell if the safety was in the stands or not. It just kind of plays with your mind a little bit. I am not a fan of that.
Quin Blanding, safety, Virginia
“My first year at Florida State (a 34-20 Seminoles win in November 2014). I’d always seen the tomahawk chop on TV, and just hearing it is literally different from what you see (on television) when you’re there playing in it. I remember being in the locker room and they started doing that, and I was like, ‘Oh, my. I’m really here now.’ That was my freshman year, so I was always nervous, especially in those big games. Now it’s like, I’m good now.”
Andrew Motuapuaka, linebacker, Virginia Tech
“Ohio State (a 42-24 Buckeyes win in September 2015). Man, it was so loud in there. That’s probably the biggest thing. Before Bristol (Virginia Tech’s game vs. Tennessee at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2016), I’ve never seen that many people in one stadium. It’s so loud when they do their little Ohio chant. But it was cool. It was a real cool atmosphere. LeBron was there. It was real cool.”
Part 1: What do you think of when you think of Georgia Tech?
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Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC