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   Welcome to TSLMail #126 - Friday, April 23, 2004    
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TSL Spring Game Tailgate
by Will Stewart,

Hokie fans! Don't forget TSL's spring game tailgate Saturday. It starts at 10:00 a.m. and features a few "celebrity" guests: Hokie Bird artist Judy Damon, who sculpted the big Hokie Bird that sits in Cassell Coliseum -- Judy will be there with samples of the smaller birds that we sell through, so come have a look-see and touch-feel. Plus the real Hokie Bird himself is planned to make an appearance!

Full details on the tailgate can be found here:

TSL News and Notes, 4/22/04 (scroll down)

The VT/Maryland Football Rivalry
by Will Stewart,

Virginia Tech and Maryland have played 30 times in football, with the Terrapins leading the series 17-13-0, and that might lead you to think that these two teams are very familiar with each other. Quite the contrary: Maryland and VT have played just two times since 1950.

The teams played four times around the turn of the century, and from 1919 to 1936, they played 18 straight seasons, and again from 1945 to 1950, six straight times. At that point, the two teams had played 28 games in 54 years, and with the proximity of the two universities, it looked like they might clash many times over the years.

But from 1951 to 1989, they didn't meet. Then in 1990, a VT program with high expectations after a breakthrough 6-4-1 season in 1989 traveled to College Park to take on the Terps.

1990: Maryland 20, VT 13: The Hokies had Eugene Chung, Will Furrer, and Vaughn Hebron on offense, but despite that star power, they managed just 218 yards against the Terps and fizzled all day long in key situations.

With the score tied at 13 and about a minute remaining, Maryland had the ball at their own 49 yard line. Redshirt freshman Frank Wycheck had been unstoppable for the Terps, catching a record 14 passes on the day, and the Hokies adjusted, cheating safety Damien Russell over to help cover him. That set up single coverage for wide receiver Gene Thomas over on the other side, and Maryland took advantage of it.

QB Scott Zolak dropped back to pass and rifled the ball to Thomas. VT cornerback Greg Lassiter tried for the interception on the short pass and missed it, and all Thomas had to do was try not to trip as he ran down the field alone for an easy touchdown.

The Hokies lost that game by a final score of 20-13, and though it was a bad start to the season, the Hokies would win many memorable games that year: a 24-23 road victory at ECU, a 26-21 home victory over West Virginia, a 20-16 home win over NC State, a home win by the same score over a Brett Favre-led Southern Mississippi team, and of course, the season-ending 38-13 romp over former #1 Virginia.

VT finished 6-5 in 1990, "the best 6-5 team in the country," and one wonders if an opening win over Maryland would have given them the boost they needed to get a bowl bid.

1993: Virginia Tech 55, Maryland 28: This game is one of the wildest, most historic games in VT football that almost never gets talked about. The Terrapins brought a high-powered offense led by QB Scott Milanovich and the worst defense in the country into Lane Stadium to tangle with a potent VT team led by Maurice DeShazo, who was having his finest season as a Hokie.

The results were predictable. On a wet, sloppy day, both offenses exploded, setting or tying 16 Lane Stadium records, including (but not limited to) the following (some of which have been broken since):

  • Highest combined score: 83 points.
  • Highest combined total offense: 1,290 yards.
  • Highest total offense for VT: 641 yards.
  • Most TD passes by a VT individual and VT team: 4, by Maurice DeShazo.
  • Most yards passing by a VT opponent: 498, Scott Milanovich.
  • Highest total offense by an opponent: 649 yards.

As remarkable as those records were, they weren't even the story of the game. Tthe big story was a brawl that broke out on the field right before half time.

With the Hokies holding a 35-14 lead late in the second quarter, Maryland drove deep into VT territory and tried a 25-yard field goal as time was winding down in the half. George DelRicco blocked the field goal with three seconds left to go, and as the Hokies started to celebrate, a fight broke out. Chris Colston of the Hokie Huddler described the scene:

"Nobody quite knew how the fracas began, but it escalated quickly. One Hokie threw a Terrapin helmet into the fray. Stacey Henley was on the ground, being kicked by two Maryland players (center Jim Pyne came to his rescue). Bernard Basham got into a jawing match with Terp assistant Peter McCarty.

When it broke up, four players-- Tech's Dwayne Thomas and Kevin Martin and Maryland's Jermaine Stewart and Jaime Flores -- were ejected."

Just for the record, I had the privilege of having dinner with Thomas a couple years ago -- he was a student in a class in which I was the guest speaker, and the professor of the class took us out to dinner afterwards -- and Thomas, a huge sheepish grin on his face, confessed to being the Hokie who launched the Maryland helmet into the crowd (hence the ejection). I don't remember what else he said about the fight, but I do remember him 'fessing up to throwing the helmet.

The VT-Maryland fight was hardly the marquee matchup (so to speak) that Saturday afternoon. It was a remarkable day for fights in college football as Miami-Colorado, UNC-NC State, and Virginia-Duke all featured major brawls. If you're counting, that's over half of the ACC gettin' into it that day, no matter how you slice it: 5 of the 9 ACC teams at the time, and 7 of the future 12 ACC teams.

Legend has it that Maryland Director of Athletics Debbie Yow holds a grudge against the Hokies over that fight, and refused to schedule VT for any further games. But Yow didn't even start her tenure at Maryland until 1994, and in case you hadn't noticed, the Terps weren't in the habit of scheduling the Hokies anyway, preferring West Virginia as their major out of conference opponent from the Big East. Once the Hokies started a Big East round-robin schedule in 1993, any chances of Tech and Maryland meeting on the playing field diminished greatly.

The events of last summer changed all that, and starting on Thursday, November 18th in Blacksburg, the two teams will tangle once again, hopefully leaving out the fisticuffs. It should be the beginning of a long and bitter rivalry. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

Rookie Diary #9: Waiting for Draft Day
by, 4/23/04, 12:20 pm
Right now, I'm doing stuff try to keep my mind off of the draft. You keep thinking about it and dwelling on it, and it seems like days are forever. I try to keep occupied, whether it's watching TV, watching the playoffs, working out, chilling, going over to my friends' places, trying to keep myself occupied, and let the time go faster and make sure I stay in shape.
in TSL Pass

A Gym Rat's Notebook #15: Help Could Be Looming on the Horizon
by Elijah Kyle, 4/23/04, 9:10 am
One of the more controversial pieces of recent legislation has been the much-discussed and debated five-eight scholarship rule, which was instituted at the beginning of the 2001-02 season. The rule was designed to limit the number of transfers that programs incurred, while negating coaches from running off players.
in TSL Pass

Players to Look for in the Spring Game
by Will Stewart,, 4/22/04, 2:25 pm
This Saturday, during Virginia Tech's spring game, players will be filing into and out of the game by the dozens, QB's will wear yellow jerseys and be whistled dead when defenders get close enough to say "boo", and a plethora of new young players will have those fans lucky enough to get a roster card grabbing for it.
Also: TSL Spring Game Tailgate Info and Details
in News and Notes

The State of the Program, Part 7: The Fans
by Will Stewart,, 4/21/04, 11:10 am
The fans were disgruntled. They complained about everything: the team's conservative offense, its failure to win big games, and the soft "scheduling for success." They wondered publicly if the coach had what it took to get the team to the next level, or if he was clueless about how to succeed. They said some unkind things, and their comments were out there for thousands of people to read. Yep, it was 1984, and Hokie fans were blasting Bill Dooley in the letters page of the Hokie Huddler.
in TSL Pass

What NASCAR and Tech Football Have in Common
by Jim Alderson, 4/20/04, 11:05 am
Itís Spring Game time! Tech fans get to take a break from studying NFL draft projections and arrest reports and spring into action by actually watching something that is a passable rendition of football, at least for this time of year. At a football school like Tech, the annual spring football fling has become something of a social event. Spring football provides a backdrop for what has become the far more interesting aspect of the weekend, the Spring Game tailgate.
in TSL Pass

Wide Right: The Brilliance of Larry LaPrise
by Jeff Cockey, 4/16/04, 4:15 pm
I have received many emails over the past few weeks (as Iím sure all of you have) from friends and family about the loss of an icon. So many so, that I feel compelled to address this devastating issue with all of you. He was a man who represented that upon which this great nation was built, who defined kindness, and who oozed originality. Of course I mean Larry LaPrise, the beloved songwriter who put pen to paper and with eloquent prose produced probably the greatest known little ditty around, "The Hokey Pokey."
in Voice of the Fan

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