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   Welcome to TSLMail #107 - Friday, December 5, 2003    
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   Tech Sports News

In this week's TSLMail:
  • The Latest Crown Trivia Question
  • TSL Suggestion Box
  • Our Sponsor, Valley Basement Systems
  • Project: Thank You, 2003
  • KJ's Top 5 Games


Who was Tech's athletic director before Dave Braine was hired?
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com

Check out the choices for this trivia question:

  • Dutch Baughman
  • Bill Dooley
  • Tom Gabbard
  • Michael Johnston

Answer the question in this week's Crown Auto Sweepstakes and enter for your chance to win a $100 gift certificate to Crutchfield, and our grand prize of a two-year lease of your choice of a brand new BMW Z4 or Acura TL 

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TSL Suggestion Box

Each week in TSLMail, we'll ask a question geared to improving TechSideline.com, and here's this week's question:

Do you think TSL's monitoring of the free message boards is too strict, too lenient, or just right? Give us specific examples when answering -- what's wrong, what's right, and what you would like to see changed.

Send your answers with the subject "Suggestion Box" to [email protected].

Thanks, and we look forward to your suggestions!

(continued below)


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Project: Thank You, 2002
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com

Project: Thank You, our annual player and coach appreciation effort that is directed by message board poster Nova Hokie 95, returns!  Now in its sixth year, PTY is a player appreciation effort designed to acknowledge and show appreciation for the hard work of each and every player as they prepare for the bowl game with a simple thank-you note. Click here for the details and how you can sign up to participate.


KJ's Top 5 Games at Virginia Tech
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com

As expected, Kevin Jones announced this week that he's going to enter the NFL draft next spring. We here at TSL applaud Kevin for his great career at Tech, and I personally feel that his departure for the NFL is a no-brainer.  KJ has the physical tools to make it in the NFL, and if he continues to work and improve as he has during his tenure at Tech, he should be successful.

When a player departs the Virginia Tech football family, particularly one that goes pro early like KJ, we find ourselves pondering how brief his career was, and how much we'll miss him. I plan on putting together a column soon about KJ, who this season has really grown on me, both as a person and a player.

Three years ago, when Michael Vick left, I wrote a column called Goodbye Michael, We Hardly Knew You, which for some reason was one of TSL's more popular columns ever (I thought it was average work, but so be it). I was thinking that a star of KJ's magnitude deserves a similar send-off, so I promise you, I'll put my thoughts down before the news of his departure gets too cold.

But for now, I thought I would go through the fun exercise of listing my top 5 Kevin Jones games ever. Among the 35 games KJ has played for Virginia Tech, with one more to go (the Insight Bowl against Cal), there are easily five games we can find that Hokie fans will remember as part of the legend of KJ. Here they are:

Honorable Mention: Texas A&M, 2003 (30 carries, 188 yards, 1 TD); Boston College, 2003 (24 carries, 165 yards, 3 TDs).

#5. Marshall, 2002 (24 carries, 171 yards, 3 TDs): In a nationally televised game against a ranked Marshall team that featured Bryon Leftwich, Jones and running mate Lee Suggs played, "Can you top this?" Jones won, as both players carried the ball 24 times, but KJ outrushed Suggs 171 yards to 153, and outscored him three touchdowns to two.

#4. Miami, 2001 (24 carries, 160 yards, no TDs): Against the big, bad Miami Hurricanes, true freshman Jones flashed the ability that would make him a player on the national scene. Just one game after rolling up 181 yards against Virginia, Jones averaged 6.7 yards per carry against eventual national champion Miami, including breaking off two long option runs of 56 and 40 yards in a furious second-half rally that fell short. Jones was injured late in this one, and the VT offense, suffering through a five-turnover game from QB Grant Noel, faltered without him.

#3. Virginia, 2001 (37 carries, 181 yards, 1 TD): Against Temple the previous week, Jones went over a hundred yards (21 carries, 155 yards) for the first time, in his first career start. He followed it up the next week against Virginia with a dominating performance, averaging "just" 4.9 yards per carry but completely controlling the second half of the game, particularly the fourth quarter.

Virginia was in its first year under Al Groh, and this game in Charlottesville was one the VT coaching staff did not want to lose. VT bolted to a 31-0 lead, then gave it to KJ, who had 73 yards in the fourth quarter to lock down the 31-17 win. He was poised, he was patient, and he was powerful in this, his breakout game.

#2. Pittsburgh, 2003 (30 carries, 241 yards, 4 TDs): Jones put on a clinic against Pittsburgh, running with power, precision, and speed. He bowled over Pitt defenders like a pile driver in heavy traffic, and he ran away from them on an 80-yard TD run. What a shame his performance, which ranks as the single-game rushing record at Virginia Tech, was wasted in a loss.

#1. Miami, 2003 (26 carries, 124 yards, 1 TD): In the biggest Hokie win of the season, KJ ran like a man possessed, turning the corner on Miami defenders who looked like they were standing still, and handing out punishment and a fierce attitude to Cane defenders who tried in vain to intimidate him.

Jones only played two full games against Miami (he carried just 4 times for one yard in 2002), and he seemed to save his best for the Hurricanes, averaging 5.7 yards per carry against them in 2001 and 2003.

I had seen Kevin Jones make great plays, but this was the first time that he looked like a complete, ready-for-the-NFL back for an entire game. He has had more yards than this in a game eleven times, but I thought this was the game where he really put it all together, and I was awed by his leadership and his performance.

Rehashing these great games makes me wonder what else Jones could do, if he were to return for another year. But that's the nature of college football. The brightest stars burn brightly and all to briefly as they flash across the sky before moving on elsewhere. Good luck to KJ in the NFL!


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A Note About Holiday Shopping and TechLocker.com

Please note that with holiday shopping getting underway, DO NOT FORGET ABOUT TECHLOCKER.COM for all your holiday shopping needs!

And if you're a TechSideline.com fan, please remember that TechLocker.com sales help keep this web site afloat. Many other on-line Hokie outlets, such as universitybookstore.com, techbookstore.com, and hokieshop.com, are just additional revenue generators for the retail entities that run them.

TechLocker.com, on the other hand, is our merchandising bread and butter, and a vital part of our business, not just an online outlet we have slapped up to generate more cash. Please keep that in mind when shopping for Hokie gifts online.

Check out some great new products and gift ideas at the top of this TSLMail.

TechLocker.com, Hokie Gift Heaven


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   TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week


Wide Right: Randoms
by Jeff Cockey, 12/5/03, 1:40 pm
Randoms is a Wide Right column housing the whimsical tidbits that consume my day. Most are football related but as with all my columns, a small dose of the arbitrary is thrown in.
in TSL Pass

The State of the Program, Part 1: The Season
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 12/5/03, 1:30 am
Every time someone says to me, "Hey, 8-4 with a victory over Miami isn't bad," I find myself shrugging and answering, "It's not so much what happened, but the way it happened." And not to mention the fact that it happened for the third year in a row.
in TSL Pass

Matthews Shines, but Hokies Lose OT Thriller
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 12/5/03, 1:20 am
Blacksburg, VA -- Bryant Matthews poured in 37 points, topping the career high he set in the previous game, but it wasn't enough, as Virginia Tech lost an overtime thriller to ODU, 94-92.
in Men's Hoops

Hokie Hotline Notes for December 2, 2003
by Wayne Clevenger, 12/4/03, 10:25 am
Bill Roth began the broadcast with a few quick announcements. Renovations have begun on the west side of Lane Stadium. The VT womenís basketball team is still undefeated and ranked 23rd in the new AP poll. The VT menís basketball team is 3-1 on the season and scheduled to take on ODU at home on 11/4 before traveling to play Ohio State in Columbus on 11/6. Former VT menís basketball standout Dell Curry was recently inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. VT tailback Kevin Jones will forgo his senior season and enter the upcoming NFL draft.
in Hokie Hotline Notes

Hokies Team Up to Down ODU, 79-72
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 12/3/03, 11:55 pm
Blacksburg, VA -- The Virginia Tech women's basketball team got three 20-point performances, including two career-high totals, in downing Old Dominion, 79-72, running their record over in-state competition at Cassell Coliseum to 17-0 under Bonnie Henrickson.
in Women's Hoops

A View From the Road #2
by Rev. Zeke, 12/3/03, 4:15 pm
While much of the attention has been focused on Seth Greenberg's first recruiting class, and especially now on the direction taken in the spring with a hoped-for fourth recruit, it's never too early to look down the road at how next fall's recruiting class might shape up.
in TSL Pass

Kevin Jones Declares for the NFL
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 12/3/03, 2:05 pm
One day after ESPN.com broke the news that Kevin Jones was going to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft, Jones himself verified the news at a 1 p.m. news conference. The news conference was attended by Jones, head coach Frank Beamer, and running backs coach Billy Hite.
in News and Notes

2003 Virginia Game Analysis
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 12/2/03, 3:40 pm
While all the talk about the Virginia Cavaliers the last few years has been that they have been recruiting well, accumulating talent, etc., etc., the undeniable truth is that Saturday, Al Groh and company ventured into new territory, not only outplaying Virginia Tech, but outcoaching them.
in TSL Pass

Matthews Drops 36 on Morgan State, Hokies Win
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 12/2/03, 12:05 am
Blacksburg, VA -- Virginia Tech got a career-high 36 points from Bryant Matthews and turned up the defensive intensity in the second half to run away from Morgan State in Cassell Coliseum, 76-66. The win puts the Hokies at 3-1 on the season, and Morgan State drops to 1-2.
in Men's Hoops

Wide Right: Scribbles - It's B-Ball Season, Baby!
by Jeff Cockey, 12/1/03, 4:30 pm
Hey folks here we are, our bellies filled with turkey, and family members gathered around asking you why they have to watch this silly basketball game on a Friday night. So in the holiday spirit, I decided to scribble some notes for VT's first major basketball game of the season, their matchup with the Hoos.
in Voice of the Fan

And Now the Hoos, Too
by Jim Alderson, 12/1/03, 4:15 pm
During Techís annual late-season collapses, there had been at least one constant as the November losses piled up like leaves in my yard: the Hoos could be beaten. Not anymore. This Tech team, not content to merely replicate the dismal finishes of the last two editions, found a way to make this yearly breakdown even more memorable than those of 2001 and 2002: the Commonwealth Cup will not be a permanent fixture in Merryman. Will it now be referred to, for at least the next year, as the Chardonnay Cup?
in TSL Pass

Hokies Headed to the Insight Bowl
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 12/1/03, 11:50 am
Virginia Tech announced Sunday that they have received an invitation to the Insight Bowl in Phoenix Arizona, to be played on December 26th at 8:30 p.m. (ESPN). California newspapers are reporting today that the opponent will be California out of the PAC-10, though the invitation to Cal has not been officially extended.
in News and Notes

Small Pleasures: Virginia
by Kevin Cuddihy, 12/1/03, 10:30 am
Wow. Tough game, tough loss. Tough finding Small Pleasures when you lose to your rival, but the band plays on and the world keeps on spinning. There's still a little bit of joy in the journey, even if the destination isn't quite where you wanted. (Cleveland?? I thought I was flying into Maui! Well, at least the stewardess was hot!)
in Voice of the Fan

Tech Women Win Paradise Jam, 63-56
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 11/30/03, 2:00 am
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands -- Carrie Mason matched her career high with 24 points and helped the Virginia Tech women pull away from Mississippi State in the championship game of the Paradise Jam tournament in the Virgin Islands, 63-56.
in Women's Hoops

Hoos End the Streak: UVA 35, VT 21
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 11/30/03, 1:25 am
Charlottesville, VA - After 1,510 days in Virginia Tech's possession, the Commonwealth Cup is going back to Charlottesville. Virginia outscored Virginia Tech 28-7 in the second half to turn a 14-7 half time deficit into a 35-21 win, ending VT's four-year hold on the Cup.
in Football

Hoos Wear Out Hokies, 80-65
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 11/29/03, 12:15 am
Charlottesville, VA -- Virginia held Virginia Tech at bay with the three-pointer in the first half and then put the Hokies away with the inside game in the second half, pulling away for an 80-65 win over the shorthanded and outmanned Hokies.
in Men's Hoops

 
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