2001 Spring Game: Maroon 24, White 10
April 21, 2001
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com

               1   2   3   4    F
              --  --  --  --   --
White          7   0   3   0   10
Maroon         0   7   7  10   24

1st Quarter:
White-E. Johnson 30 yard pass from Noel (Mollerup kick)

2nd Quarter:
Maroon-Burnell 37 yard run (Felber kick)

3rd Quarter:
Maroon-Burnell 57 yard run (Felber kick)
White-Mollerup 52 yard field goal

4th Quarter:
Maroon-Jim Davis 0 yd fumble return (Felber kick)
Maroon-Felber 30 yard field goal

Blacksburg, VA - Keith Burnell put the finishing touches on his breakout spring with a 182-yard, 2-TD rushing performance to lead the Maroon squad to a 24-10 victory in the 2001 Virginia Tech Spring Game.

Behind Burnell's efforts, the Maroon squad was able to accumulate 294 yards in the game, which was shortened from the standard 15-minute quarters to 8-minute quarters. The White squad was only able to muster 112 yards of offense.

Other than Burnell, the highlight of the day was the punting of redshirt freshman Vinnie Burns. Burns started with a punt of 33 yards and ended with a punt of 34 yards, but in between, he boomed spiraling kicks of 52, 59, and 53 yards, drawing cheers from the crowd. The 52-yard punt was a touchback that traveled over 60 yards in the air and landed near the back line of the end zone.  On the day, he averaged 46.2 yards on his five kicks.

In the quarterback battle, Grant Noel quarterbacked the White team. He was 13-32 for 114 yards, no interceptions and one TD. Noel was pressured heavily all day and was unable to make plays. Jason Davis led the Maroon team, and he was 8-17 for 117 yards and 2 interceptions.

Both quarterbacks had their moments. Early in the game, Davis scrambled right and threw a long pass down the sideline that Shawn Witten caught for a 41-yard completion. That drive stalled, and the White team responded with a 9-play, 71-yard drive that netted the game's first touchdown when Noel threw a 30-yard TD pass to Emmett Johnson. Noel's pass was on line but slightly underthrown, and Johnson came back to make the touchdown catch under pressure.

But both quarterbacks also struggled at times. Early in the second quarter, Davis threw an interception when he was picked off by walk-on Brandon Manning on a third and 21. Davis did not see Manning and threw down the middle, only to have Manning cut in front of the ball near his goal line, intercept it, and return it 31 yards.

After the next White drive stalled, the Maroon team came back with a 9-play, 72 yard drive. After a short Davis pass to Parham to open the drive, the Maroon team ran the ball 8 straight times. On the final play of the drive, Burnell took the handoff on fourth and one, ran off-tackle left, and bounced it to the outside for a 37-yard touchdown. The extra point made it 7-7, and that score held up until half time.

Early in the third quarter, Burnell sprang through a hole off tackle and scored down the right sideline on a 57-yard run to make it 14-7, Maroon. After the two teams traded three-and-out possessions, the White team closed it to 14-10 when Jon Mollerup crushed a 52-yard field goal down the middle that would have been good from at least 60 yards.

The Maroon squad put the game away in the fourth quarter when a shotgun snap that got by White quarterback Grant Noel was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by Jim Davis. The Maroon would later add a 30-yard field goal by Felber for the final margin of 24-10.

The Maroon had a balanced attack (177 rushing, 117 passing), but the White couldn't muster up a running game, finishing with (-2) yards on the ground. Lee Suggs started for the White but saw very limited duty, running just twice. Doug Easlick led a platoon of fullbacks who served as tailbacks in Suggs's absence. Easlick had 4 carries for 30 yards, but the White rushing total was hampered by six sacks of Grant Noel totaling 29 yards in losses.

Richard Johnson was Noel's primary passing target, and Johnson led all receivers with 6 catches for 49 yards, including several very nice catches of poorly thrown balls.

The game wraps up Tech's 2001 spring practice. The Hokies will open the 2001 season at home against Connecticut on September 1st.

Spring Practice Awards:

Paul Torgersen Top Newcomer: offense -- Jon Dunn; defense -- Vince Fuller.

Dr. Richard Bullock Most Improved: offense -- Keith Burnell; defense -- Channing Reed and Kevin Lewis.

Frank O. Moseley Top Hustler: offense -- Matt Wincek and Shawn Witten; defense -- Brian Welch and Lamar Cobb.

George Preas Most Valuable Performer: offense -- Jarrett Ferguson; defense -- Ronyell Whitaker.

Click here for TechSideline.com's post-Spring Game analysis


                       White     Maroon
                         ---        ---
First downs                9         11
Rushed-yards         20-(-2)     31-177
Passing yards            114        117
Sacked-yards lost       6-29       3-21
Passes               13-32-0 
Punts                 6-39.7     3-44.0
Fumbles-lost             1-1        1-0
Penalties-yards         5-40       3-15

Att: 18,000 (hokiesportsinfo.com estimate)


RUSHING: White-Easlick 4-30, Ferguson 2-17, Suggs 2-11, Urquhart 1-10, E. Johnson 1-3, R. Johnson 1-(-8), Noel 8-(-23). Maroon-Burnell 15-182, Joe Wilson 8-9, Briggs 2-6, Jason Davis 5-(-13), Team 1-(-7).

PASSING: White-Noel 13-32-0-114. Maroon-Jason Davis 8-17-2-117, Witten 0-1-1.

RECEIVING: White-R. Johnson 6-49, E. Johnson 2-39, A. Davis 1-13, Shreve 1-6, Suggs 2-5, Urquhart 1-2. Maroon-Witten 2-61, Parham 3-41, Scott Hughes 1-14, Willis 1-1, Joe Coley 1-0.


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