Virginia Tech 21, Virginia 9
November 30, 2002
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com
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Blacksburg, VA - Lee Suggs, playing in his final home game, ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Hokies to a 21-9 victory over Virginia in bitterly cold weather in Lane Stadium. Tech limited Virginia to 203 yards of offense, including just 51 yards passing, in a game that was played in temperatures in the thirties with winds of twenty miles an hour and more.
The Hokies overcame three turnovers, two of which led to all 9 Virginia points, for the win. Tech did it with their defense, plus an old friend, the blocked punt for a touchdown. True freshman Darryl Tapp got the Hokies on the board early in the second quarter with an 11-yard return of a punt blocked by redshirt freshman Justin Hamilton. That play put the Hokies up 7-3 and kickstarted a Tech team that had started sluggishly.
Tech tacked on another score in the second quarter on a 4-yard TD run by Suggs to lead 14-3 at the half. After turning it over and surrendering a TD to UVa early in the third quarter, Tech put on the defensive clamps and added another Suggs TD run in the fourth quarter for the final margin of 21-9.
Suggs was joined in rushing by teammate Kevin Jones, who had 91 yards on just 15 carries. The Hokies had 272 yards rushing on 50 carries, the most rushing yardage since they hung 342 yards on Rutgers in the seventh game of the season. Virginia responded with 152 yards rushing on 37 carries, including 127 yards by freshman Wali Lundy on 29 carries, but the rushing total by Lundy represented Virginia's only offensive bright spot.
The game was billed as a matchup of the #4-rated passer in the nation, Virginia's Matt Schaub, against the #6-rated passer in the country, Tech's Bryan Randall, but because of the cold and windy conditions, neither QB had much success passing. Schaub completed 12-of-23 passes but only had 43 yards (the other 8 yards came on a completion by punter Tom Hagan after a botched punt snap), and Randall threw just 11 times, completing 5 for 85 yards.
The Hokies muzzled Virginia receiver Billy McMullen, holding him to 14 yards on four catches. The Hokies were led in receiving by Ernest Wilford, who had two catches for 33 yards, and Richard Johnson, who had one catch for 39 yards.
Tech put together two strong defensive halves, giving up 107 yards in the first half and 96 in the second half. The Hokies got stronger defensively as the game went on, holding the Hoos to 4 yards, zero first downs, and 3:39 possession time in the fourth quarter.
The win stretches Tech's winning streak over Virginia to four games, the longest streak since the Hokies won four in a row from 1980-1983. The 203 yards surrendered is Tech's second-best defensive game of the season, behind the 156 yards given up to Texas A&M, and it reverses a defensive slide that had seen the Hokies give up 1,474 yards (491 yards per game) in their three-game losing streak.
The season is over for the Cavaliers, who finish 8-5 (6-2 ACC). The Hokies, at 9-3 (3-3 Big East), will travel to Miami for a 1 pm game on ABC next Saturday, December 7th.
The Hokies began the game with a turnover, Randall throwing an interception to Willie Davis, who returned it from the Tech 42 to the 20. The Tech defense stiffened inside the ten yard line, holding UVa to a 20-yard field goal by Connor Hughes.
The two teams traded possessions for the remainder of the first quarter, and early in the second quarter, Justin Hamilton burst up the middle untouched and blocked a Tom Hagan punt from the Virginia 47-yard line. The ball rolled inside the Virginia 20, where Hamilton was unable to pick it up, but Darryl Tapp followed right behind him, scooping the ball up at the 11-yard line and running it in. The Hokies led 7-3 and would not relinquish that lead the rest of the game.
On Virginia's next possession, they turned the ball over on downs when Hagan dropped a punt snap and then threw a pass to Shenard Newby that was too short for the first down. The Hokies took over on their own 39 and drove smartly for another TD, going 61 yards in 9 plays. The drive featured both of Wilford's catches on the night, for a total of 33 yards, and it ended in a Lee Suggs 4-yard TD run. The touchdown extended Suggs' NCAA record to 25 games in a row with a TD scored.
The Hokies forced another punt and then threatened to blow the game open when they drove to the Virginia 8-yard line, but Darryl Blackstock chased Randall down from behind and forced a fumble that the Cavaliers recovered on their ten. The half ended with the score VT 14, UVa 3.
Virginia Tech's generosity continued with another turnover in the third quarter. On their second possession of the quarter, Kevin Jones fumbled on the Hokie 29, and Virginia scored in five plays. Schaub hit tight end Heath Miller with a short pass, and when the Hokies missed the tackle, Miller took it for a 15-yard TD. Hughes hooked the extra point, and it was 14-9, Hokies.
After that, the two teams traded punts for a while. Late in the third quarter, Virginia penetrated to the Hokie 33-yard line. A fumbled pitch forced the Cavaliers into a third and 15 situation from the Tech 38, and Schaub threw a deep ball down the middle to McMullen. Garnell Wilds stepped in front of the pass and picked it off at the Hokie 3, returning it to the 11.
The Hokies dominated the fourth quarter, limiting Virginia to 4 yards of offense and 3:39 in possession time during two three-and-out possessions. The Hokies started to win the field-position battle, and it paid off in a game-sealing, 44-yard TD drive topped by a Suggs 6-yard TD run with 5:08 to go that made it 21-9, Hokies. The Tech defense made that stand up as the final score.
RUSHING: VT-Suggs 19-108; Jones 15-91; Randall 14-67; Easlick 1-7, Team 1-(-1). UVA-Lundy 29-127; McMullen 1-19; Snelling 2-12; Schaub 5-(-6).
PASSING: VT-Randall, Bryan 5-11-1-85. UVA-Schaub 12-23-1-43; Hagan 1-1-0-8.
RECEIVING: VT-Wilford 2-33; Johnson 1-39; Suggs 1-9; Easlick 1-4. UVA-McMullen
4-14; Lundy 4-10; Miller 2-15, Newby 1-8; Hagans 1-4; Snelling 1-0.