Virginia Tech
30, Western Michigan 0
September 28, 2002
by Will Stewart,

                         1   2   3   4    F
                        --  --  --  --   --
Western Michigan         0   0   0   0    0
Virginia Tech (5)        0  16   7   7   30

1st Quarter:
No scoring

2nd Quarter:
VT-Mollerup 37 FG, 14:18 remaining
VT-Suggs 28 pass from Randall (kick failed), 1:40
VT-Markogiannakis 35 fumble return (Mollerup kick), 1:21

3rd Quarter:
VT-Suggs 5 run (Warley kick), 8:41

4th Quarter:
VT-Jones 1 run (Warley kick), 11:28

Kalamazoo, MI - Virginia Tech got off to a sluggish, mistake-prone start, but fired up their passing game and defense to put points on the board and put upset-minded Western Michigan away, 30-0.

The Broncos declared it "Blackout Saturday" and had their student body wear black shirts to the game, and they had dreams of knocking off the 5th-ranked Hokies in what they billed as the biggest home game in their program's history. But turnovers, penalties, and a stifling Virginia Tech defense that stubbornly refused to give up points combined to ruin their visions of a big upset.

Western Michigan turned the ball over three times on fumbles and had 9 penalties for 74 yards in losses. The miscues ruined a good chance for WMU to get in the game early when the Hokies didn't take advantage of great field position.

The Virginia Tech offense struggled early, failing to score on three possessions that started inside Western Michigan territory in the first quarter. The Hokies started drives at the Bronco 42, 9, and 39 yard lines but came up empty on every one. The drive that started at the 9-yard line ended with a Bryan Randall interception, his first of the year, and the others ended in punts. The Hokies also had a drive that started at their own 27 in the quarter and ended in a punt.

A fourth drive that started on the WMU 29 late in the first quarter yielded Tech's first points of the day, when Jon Mollerup hit a 37-yard field goal early in the second quarter. Mollerup subbed for Carter Warley, who was suffering back problems, on some of Tech's field goal and extra point attempts.

Meanwhile, the Hokie defense had forced two fumbles by Western Michigan, but after the VT field goal, the Broncos had one of their best drives of the day. They took it from the Western Michigan 31 to the Tech 16-yard line, where a field goal attempt was blocked because of a bad snap-and-hold. The block was the 94th blocked kick during Frank Beamer's tenure as head coach at VT.

The score stayed at 3-0 when Mollerup missed a 42-yard field goal, and it remained that way until late in the second quarter. The Virginia Tech offense, with their running game flailing, finally got on track late in the quarter when they went into a two-minute drill and threw five straight passes. Randall completed four of the five passes, with the last one being a 28-yard shovel pass to Lee Suggs for a touchdown. Mollerup missed the extra point, and it was 9-0, Hokies, with 1:40 to go in the second quarter.

On WMU's very next play from scrimmage, lightning struck when Bronco quarterback Jon Drach fumbled after being hit from behind by Nathaniel Adibi. The ball rolled free, and VT walk-on linebacker Alex Markogiannakis, subbing for the injured Mikal Baaqee, picked the ball up and ran 35 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was good, and it was 16-0, Hokies, right before the half.

Tech opened the second half with its passing game still clicking.  Randall completed three straight passes to move the ball to the WMU 26, and then the Hokies shifted back to the running game. Lee Suggs ran six straight times, the final one being a five-yard blast up the middle that put Tech up 23-0 and put the game out of reach.

The Hokie defense took over from there, repeatedly stuffing Western Michigan's offense, and Tech tacked on another touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a one-yard run by Kevin Jones. The Hokies played their backups for the last ten minutes of the game.

On a day when the Tech running game was expected to shine, it didn't. Lee Suggs was held to 48 yards on 13 carries and Kevin Jones was held to 36 on 15 carries, but Bryan Randall picked up the slack with the passing game, going 13-of-19 for a career-high 194 yards, with one TD and two interceptions. Randall also rushed 8 times for 40 yards.

The Hokie defense registered their first shutout of the season. They limited WMU to 268 yards of total offense, including just 115 in the second half. Western Michigan penetrated VT territory just four times all game long.

The win pushes the Hokies to 5-0. They are expected to be ranked #4 next week, with #4 Florida State's loss to Louisville Thursday night.

Game Notes:

  • Bizarre stat of the game #1: The Hokies started four offensive drives in Western Michigan territory and scored 3 points. They scored 21 points on drives that started at the Tech 32, 16, and 23 yard lines.

  • Bizarre stat of the game #2: Tech was led in tackles by little-used reserve linebacker James Anderson, with 6 (3 solo, 3 assisted).

  • The Hokies had 5 sacks for the second game in a row. In 5 games, Tech now has 17 sacks on the year for 104 yards in losses, an average of 3.4 sacks per game. Last year, the Hokies had 30 sacks in 11 games, for an average of 2.7 sacks per game.

  • Speaking of Sacks, Nathaniel Adibi leads Tech with 5. Last year, Jim Davis led Tech with just 4.5 sacks. Cols Colas has 3.5 sacks so far this year, and Davis has 3.

  • Coming into this game, Tech had 206 rushes and 55 passes (79% run percentage). In this game, VT had 39 rushes and 25 passes (61% run percentage).

  • With his two TD's on the day, Lee Suggs now has 40 TD's in his career (38 rushing, 2 receiving) and is the Big East's career touchdown leader.

Click here for TSL's post-game analysis


                          VT         WMU
                        ----        ----
First downs               19          12
Rushed-yards          39-128       27-35
Passing yards            212         233
Sacked-yards lost        1-4        5-30
Return yards              51           6
Passes               14-25-2     24-44-0
Punts                 6-44.3      8-36.9
Fumbles-lost             2-0         3-3
Penalties-yards         4-30        9-74
Time of possession     29:53       30:07

Att: 27,218

Individual Statistics

RUSHING: VT-Suggs, 13-48; Randall, 8-40; Jones, 14-36; Humes 1-3; Imoh 1-3; Team 2-(-2). WMU-Reed 15-31; Riley 3-18; Munson 1-(-3); Drach 8-(-11).

PASSING: VT-Randall, 13-19-2-194; Noel 1-6-0-18. WMU-Drach 22-39-0-210; Munson 2-4-0-23; Thomas 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING: VT-Wilford 2-38; Willis 2-27; Johnson 2-26; Parham 2-20; Easlick 2-(-2); Witten 1-34; Suggs 1-28; Hamilton 1-23; Spence 1-18.


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