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|Welcome to TSLMail #126 - Friday, April 23, 2004||
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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 TechLocker.com, 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:
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):
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:
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.
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|TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week|
A Gym Rat's Notebook #15: Help Could Be Looming on the Horizon
Players to Look for in the Spring Game
The State of the Program, Part 7: The Fans
What NASCAR and Tech Football Have in Common
Wide Right: The Brilliance of Larry LaPrise
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