Virginia Tech
20, Temple 10
October 26, 2002
by Will Stewart,

                         1   2   3   4    F
                        --  --  --  --   --
Virginia Tech (3)        7   3   7   3   20
Temple                   0   0   3   7   10

1st Quarter:
VT-Suggs 4 run (Schmitt kick), 9:16 remaining

2nd Quarter:
VT-Schmitt 21 FG, 0:02

3rd Quarter:
TU-Poklemba 36 FG, 8:51
VT-Easlick 32 pass from Randall (Schmitt kick), 0:00

4th Quarter:
VT-Schmitt 22 FG, 10:05
TU-Szarka 13 pass from McGann (Poklemba kick), 1:48

Blacksburg, VA - Plagued by four turnovers, three by quarterback Bryan Randall, the third-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies struggled to a closer-than-expected 20-10 win over the Temple Owls.

Favored by four touchdowns, the Hokies gradually built a 20-3 lead and then surrendered a late touchdown to make the final margin ten points. The Hokies scored once in each quarter, but they never got on track offensively, mainly because of turnovers and a subpar performance from their rushing game.

Tech posted some decent numbers offensively, rushing for 199 yards, completing 65% of their passes, and converting almost 50% of their third downs. Defensively, they held Temple to just 70 first half yards and kept them out of the end zone until less than two minutes remained. The Hokies also committed just 4 penalties.

But the big running play was uncharacteristically missing from the VT offense, as their longest rush went for just 10 yards, and the Owls bottled up Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones, holding them to just 47 yards on 19 carries and 72 yards on 17 carries, respectively. Two lost fumbles and two interceptions derailed the Hokie offense, who turned the ball over three times in the first half alone.

Fortunately for Tech, the early turnovers weren't costly, except in the field position battle. In the first quarter, the Hokies turned the ball over on their own 32-yard line on a Kevin Jones fumble, and on their own 40-yard line on a Randall interception, but Temple didn't turn either turnover into points, allowing the Hokies to escape unscathed.

Vince Fuller starred on defense for the Hokies, intercepting two passes deep in Hokie territory. His first interception came in the first quarter, five plays after Jones' fumble, at the VT 8 yard line. His second interception came in the end zone in the fourth quarter, ending the Owls' best drive. Tech led 20-3 at the time, and Temple had gone 74 yards in 11 plays, penetrating all the way to the Tech 5-yard line.

Randall was 13-for-20 for 146 yards and a touchdown, a 32-yarder to Doug Easlick that put the Hokies up 17-3 on the last play of the third quarter. While the first of his two interceptions wasn't costly, he threw a pick late in the fourth quarter that gave Temple the ball on the Tech 26 yard line, leading to the Owls' only touchdown.

In short, the Hokies didn't dominate Temple as they have been accustomed to in recent years, outgaining them just 345-269, and turnovers kept the Tech offense out of synch. The defense was solid but not spectacular, with Fuller providing the key plays to keep the Owls at bay.

With the victory, Tech is now 8-0, their third 8-0 start in the last four seasons, 3-0 in the Big East. Temple falls to 3-5 overall, 1-2 in conference. The Hokies will tee it off again next Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. against Pittsburgh, a 19-16 overtime winner against Boston College. The game will be televised by ESPN2.

Game Recap

The Hokies held Temple on the Owls' first possession, and then Tech drove smartly downfield, going 57 yards in nine plays and scoring on a 4-yard Lee Suggs run to make it 7-0.

The trouble started for Tech on their second possession, when Kevin Jones fumbled the ball and Temple recovered on the Tech 32. The Owls advanced to the Hokie 19 yard line, then gave up five yards on a penalty and finally turned it over when Fuller intercepted a pass at the Tech 8.

The Hokies turned it over again when Randall was flushed from the pocket and was picked off by Lafto Thompson on the sideline at the Tech 40. The Hokies held on downs, forcing a punt.

The two teams traded scoreless possessions, and then a nice 8-play, 54-yard drive by the Hokies came to an end when Randall fumbled on the Temple 37-yard line. The Hokies again held on downs, and Temple gift-wrapped a scoring opportunity by fumbling the punt snap. The Hokies swarmed over the punter at the Temple 28 yard line, and Tech was able to convert the turnover into a 21-yard field goal by freshman Nic Schmitt -- the first of his career -- as time ran out in the first half. 10-0, Hokies.

On their first possession of the second half, Temple got on the board on a 36-yard field goal by Cap Poklemba. Temple's score was keyed by a 58-yard catch-and-run by Sean Dillard that took the ball from the Temple 18 to the Tech 24.

The Hokies chewed up over seven minutes on their next possession, going 41 yards in 13 plays, but it proved to be fruitless when Schmitt missed a 42-yard field goal, keeping the score 10-3.

Looking for separation, the Hokies got it when DeAngelo Hall picked off a pass at the Temple 41-yard line. After a 9-yard Kevin Jones run, Randall found Easlick running wide open down the middle of the field for a 32-yard touchdown, making it 17-3, Hokies, at the end of the third quarter.

After a Temple punt on their next possession, Randall again hit a big pass play, finding Suggs for 30 yards to the Temple 11. The Hokies stalled at the 5-yard line, and Schmitt hit a 22-yard field goal to push the lead to 20-3 with just over ten minutes to go.

The Owls put together their best drive next, going 74 yards in 11 plays, but it ended with Fuller intercepting a pass in the end zone. On the drive, Temple picked up five of their 12 first downs, and Owl QB Mike McGann went 6-for-9 for 76 yards before throwing the pick.

The Hokies took possession on the 20 and moved into Temple territory, but Randall threw an interception to Yazid Jackson, who returned the ball from the Temple 47 to the Tech 26. The Owls converted that possession into a 13-yard McGann-to-Szarka pass for a TD.

Temple kicked an onsides kick, and DeAngelo Hall recovered with under two minutes to go. The Hokies ran the clock out from there.

Click here for TSL's post-game analysis.


                          TU          VT
                        ----        ----
First downs               12          20
Rushed-yards           25-39      54-199
Passing yards            230         146
Sacked-yards lost       2-10         0-0
Return yards              31           0
Passes               17-32-3     13-20-2
Punts                 5-31.8      2-44.5
Fumbles-lost             2-0         2-2
Penalties-yards         9-65        4-30
Time of possession     23:45       36:15

Att: 64,937

Individual Statistics

RUSHING: VT-Jones 17-72, Suggs 19-47, Randall 9-47, Easlick 4-16, Humes 3-10, Johnson 1-9, Team 1-(-2). Temple-Sharps 17-38, McGann 6-16, Team 1-(-5), Ringwelski 1-(-10).

PASSING: VT-Randall 13-20-2-146. Temple-McGann 17-32-3-230.

RECEIVING: VT-Johnson 4-40, Easlick 3-38, Wilford 2-11, Suggs 1-30, Hamilton 1-11, Witten 1-10, Humes 1-6. Temple-Dillard 4-98, Cobb 4-40, Szarka 3-43, Fenton 2-22, Sharps 2-15, Stubbs 2-12.


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