Virginia Tech 47, Marshall 21
September 12, 2002
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com
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Blacksburg, VA - It was billed as the Virginia Tech running game against the Marshall passing game, and the Hokies ground out an easy victory in this one, taking a 33-0 lead and coasting to a 47-21 win in front of 65,049 fans in Blacksburg.
Heisman Trophy candidate Byron Leftwich of Marshall had a great game statistically, completing 31 of 49 passes for 406 yards and 3 TD's, but 197 of his yards and all three touchdowns came in the fourth quarter, after Marshall had fallen behind 33-0.
Tech countered with running backs Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones, who each had 24 carries. Jones tallied 171 yards and 3 TD's, with Suggs ringing up 153 yards and 2 TD's. Overall, Tech had 395 yards rushing on 66 carries. The Hokies outgained Marshall 395 to 24 on the ground, and Marshall outdid the Hokies 442 to 101 in the air.
Marshall turned the ball over on their first possession, with wide receiver Denero Marriott giving the ball up at the Marshall 45 after a reception. The Hokies turned it into a 42-yard Carter Warley field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
The Herd rolled down the field on their next possession, earning a first and goal from the Tech 5 yard line. The Hokies stiffened, and the Herd attempted a field goal, but placekicker Curtis Head kicked it low, bouncing it off a Marshall lineman. The Hokies recovered, with DeAngelo Hall returning the block for a touchdown, but the referees ruled that Hall had received an illegal forward pass, and Tech took over on their own 10.
Virginia Tech proceeded to drive 90 yards for the score in 9 plays, all of them rushing plays by Suggs (4 carries, 41 yards on the drive) and Jones (5 carries, 49 yards), with Jones capping the drive with a 25-yard TD run. Tech took the lead, 10-0.
After a three-and-out by Marshall, the Hokies scored again, this time on a 43-yard field goal by Warley early in the second quarter. With the Hokies leading 13-0, Leftwich then threw his only interception of the night, throwing the ball directly to VT linebacker Mikal Baaqee at the Marshall 44. Baaqee carried it back to the Marshall 22 yard line, and from there, the Hokies stuck it in the end zone in three plays. Jones scored from 15 yards out, and twenty-one minutes into the game, VT led 20-0.
After that, the two teams traded possessions for a while, with no scoring. Marshall failed on two fourth-down conversion attempts in the second quarter, and neither team scored again until the Hokies strung together a 15-play, 85-yard drive in the third quarter that ended with a one-yard Lee Suggs touchdown run. The drive ate up 8:02 off the clock, and it ended with the Hokies in front, 26-0, with 2:57 to go in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, another six touchdowns were scored. Suggs scored on a one-yard run less than a minute into the quarter, making it 33-0, and then Marshall finally put a scoring drive together, going 80 yards in six plays. Leftwich hit Darius Watts with a 9-yard scoring strike to remove the Marshall goose egg from the scoreboard and make it 33-7.
The Hokies went on another clock-chewing drive, going 81 yards in 14 plays and spending 6:18 off the clock. When Kevin Jones scored from the one yard line, it was 40-7, Hokies, with 5:38 to go.
Marshall scored two straight TD's, recovering an onsides kick between scores and closing it to 40-21. Tech hung another TD on the board when third-string tailback John Candelas scored from ten yards out with less than two minutes to go, providing the final 47-21 margin.
With the victory, the Hokies move to 3-0 and now face their first road game of the season, a trip to #23 Texas A&M on September 21st. Marshall, their chance to impress the poll voters and Heisman Trophy voters gone in the wind, will regroup and go up against Central Florida on September 20th.
RUSHING: Marshall-Carey 6-17, Wallace 4-16, Hargrove 1-9, Watts 1-6, Leftwich 4--14). Virginia Tech-Jones 24-171, Suggs 24-153, Randall 7-44, Easlick 4-21, Candelas 2-11, Spence 1-5, Humes 2-3.
PASSING: Marshall-Leftwich 31-49-406-1, Hill 5-6-0-36, Team 0-1-0-0. Virginia Tech-Randall 5-12-0-101.
RECEIVING: Marshall-Jones 11-164, Watts 7-85, Davis 6-72, Marriott 6-60, Rader 3-30, Deifel, 2-12, Bates 1-19. Virginia Tech-Wilford 2-49, Witten 2-44, Easlick 1-8.