Virginia Tech 35, Rutgers 14
October 19, 2002
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com
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Blacksburg, VA - Lee Suggs turned in the sixth-best-ever rushing performance for third-ranked Virginia Tech, and the Hokies rolled up 342 rushing yards in overcoming pesky Rutgers, 35-14 before 64,097 fans in Lane Stadium.
Suggs ran for 197 yards on 21 carries (9.4 yards per carry), tying Ken Edwards for the sixth-highest ever single-game rushing total in Virginia Tech history. Edwards rushed for 197 yards on 17 carries against Florida State in 1968. The Tech record is 223 yards by Kenny Lewis Sr. against VMI in 1978.
For the second game in a row, Suggs and fellow "Untouchable" tailback Kevin Jones both went over 100 yards. Jones had 132 yards on just 13 carries, including a highlight-reel 58-yard TD in which he ran at least 100 yards, reversing his field twice for an electrifying score.
The Hokies jumped out to a 21-0 lead after one quarter and led 28-7 at the half, with 323 yards of offense. But Tech struggled offensively for much of the second half and had to hold off the Scarlet Knights in the third and fourth quarters. Trailing 28-14, Rutgers drove to the Tech 8 yard line early in the fourth quarter, but were stopped on downs when Tech's Mikal Baaqee burst up the middle for a sack on fourth and one.
The Hokies finally put the game to rest when DeAngelo Hall returned a punt 51 yards for a TD with just under five minutes remaining.
Tech QB Bryan Randall was sharp, going 11-for-15 for 131 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Two of Randall's incompletions were drops, and a third was a throwaway under pressure. Ernest Wilford caught 7 passes for 99 yards, both Tech season highs, and scored a touchdown.
Rutgers scored both of their TD's after Hokie turnovers (in addition to the Randall interception, Tech fumbled six times, losing two). The Scarlet Knights scored on a 24-yard drive after Randall's interception early in the second quarter, making it 21-7, Tech.
Rutgers' second TD came on a 36-yard drive after they recovered a Lee Suggs fumble. Rutgers converted the possession into a 31-yard TD pass on third and 17, closing the score to 28-14.
For the most part, the Hokie defense played well, holding Rutgers to -7 rushing yards, 215 total yards, and only allowing one drive of more than six plays. That one drive was a whopper, a 17-play, 73-yarder that nonetheless yielded no points, ending in Baaqee's sack on the fourth and one play.
And though the Hokies failed to hold Rutgers on the two short-field possessions after turnovers, they did kill one drive deep in their own territory when true freshman safety Jimmy Williams picked off a Ryan Cubit pass on the goal line on first and goal from the Tech ten-yard line. The play came midway through the second quarter, with the Hokies holding a 21-7 lead.
The win moves the Hokies to 7-0 on the season, 2-0 in the Big East. The mercurial Scarlet Knights (decent in road games against Tech and Tennessee, but whacked by Villanova and Buffalo at home) fall to 1-6 overall, 0-3 in the Big East.
Tech's next game is next Saturday against Temple. Game time is 1 p.m., and there is no TV for the game.
On their first possession, Rutgers drove to the Hokie 33 courtesy of a 35-yard completion from Ryan Cubit to Jerry Andre, but Nathaniel Adibi and Jim Davis sandwiched Cubit on a sack to drive the Knights back out of field goal range.
Tech then came out firing offensively. The Hokies scored TD's on their first three possessions, scoring on a 3-yard run by Suggs, a 16-yard reception by Ernest Wilford, and a 42-yard run by Suggs. The Hokies had 175 yards of offense in the first quarter, with Bryan Randall completing four-of-six passes for 52 yards, all of them caught by Ernest Wilford. Suggs had 86 yards rushing in the quarter.
Things turned sour for the Hokies in the second quarter when a Bryan Randall pass was tipped and intercepted at the Tech 24-yard line. Facing a fourth and ten from there, Rutgers faked a field goal, ran the ball to the Tech 12-yard line, and then scored two plays later on a pass from Cubit to Aaron Martin, making it 21-7.
After holding Tech, Rutgers drove to the Hokie ten-yard line and had a first and goal. Williams picked off a Cubit pass at the goal line and ran it back to the Hokie 11.
Tech moved the ball out to the Hokie 42-yard line, and that was when Jones lit up the crowd with his 58-yarder. Jones ran left, cut back just before he reached the sideline, ran all the way to the right sideline, motored down to the Rutgers 15-yard line, and cut back to daylight for the score. That made it 28-7, Hokies.
Rutgers made it 28-14 on their first possession of the second half, following a Lee Suggs fumbled option pitch on the Hokie 36. The Knights scored on a 31-yard TD pass from Cubit to Facyson in the front corner of the end zone.
The two teams then traded possessions that ate up an entire quarter off the clock, with neither team scoring. VT had a 10-play, 44-yard drive that ended in a punt, and then Rutgers followed with their 17-play, 73-yard drive that ended in Baaqee's sack of Cubit deep in Tech territory on fourth and one.
Randall fumbled on the Tech 42 on the Hokies' next possession, giving Rutgers more life, but the Knights squandered it when Tech cornerback Vinnie Fuller picked off Cubit on the Tech 26. The Hokies took it from there to the Rutgers 19, but the drive failed when Nic Schmitt missed a 36-yard field goal, keeping the game at 28-14 with 5:38 to go.
The Hokies finally put the game away for good when Rutgers punted on their next possession, and DeAngelo Hall returned it 51 yards for the TD, Hall's second score on a punt return this season. That made the margin 35-14 with 4:57 to go, and both teams played out the string after that.
RUSHING: VT-Suggs 21-197, Jones 13-132, Imoh 5-13, Johnson 1-0, Randall 10-0. Rutgers-Pittman 7-27, Facyson 5-19, Carty 1-12, Cubit 12-(-65).
PASSING: VT-Randall 11-15-1-131, Noel 1-1-0-19. Rutgers-Cubit 17-32-2-222, Barnes 0-1-0-0, Facyson 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: VT-Wilford 7-99, Witten 2-16, Mazzetta 1-19, Hamilton 1-10, Parham 1-6. Rutgers-Hobbs 5-89, Martin 4-30, Tucker 3-15, Facyson 2-48, Andre 1-35, Loomis 1-3, Pilch 1-2.