Herd no match for Hokies
By Jimmy Robertson
September 13, 2002

Post Game Notes #16 Marshall Thundering Herd
vs. #11 Virginia Tech Hokies
Thursday, September 12, 2002
Lane Stadium/Worsham Field ▄ Blacksburg, Va. Prior to kickoff head coach Frank Beamer's jersey was retired. Beamer, who is in his 16th season as the Hokies' head coach , was a three-year starter at Tech from 1966-68. The defensive back wore No. 25.

"The Untouchables" - Tech running backs Kevin Jones and Lee Suggs - became the first teammates to rush for 100 yards in the same game since the 2000 season when Michael Vick (210 yards) and Lee Suggs (145) accomplished the feat against Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass. (9/28/00). Suggs finished the game with 153 yards on 24 carries while Jones rushed for 171 yards on 24 carries. The duo combined for five touchdowns.

Tonight's game marked the eighth meeting between Virginia Tech and Marshall. With the win, Tech increases its lead in the series to 6-2. It was the first meeting between the two teams since 1953.

With his first touchdown Thursday, Tech running back Kevin Jones scored the 600th touchdown in the Frank Beamer era.

With his touchdown in the third quarter, Lee Suggs has now scored in the last 16 games in which he has played. Suggs is Tech's all-time leader with 36 career touchdowns.

Following a Marshall missed field goal, Tech mounted its longest drive of the season going 90 yards in nine plays. All nine plays were rushing plays capped by a Kevin Jones touchdown.

In the third quarter, Tech mounted an 85-yard drive on a season-high 15 plays. The drive lasted 8:02, another season-high.

Tech led at the half, 20-0. The Hokies have yet to allow a score in the first half of play and have outscored their opponents, 90-0. The last time Marshall was shut out in a half was against Florida during the 2001 season (9/1/01).

Carter Warley's 43-yard field goal in the second quarter was the longest by him since a 47-yarder in the 2000 Syracuse game (10/21/00).

Bryan Randall's 38-yard completion to Ernest Wilford was the longest completion this season for the Hokies. Wilford finished with 49 yards receiving on two catches.

Freshman walk-on John Candelas, a native of Blacksburg, Va., scored his first career touchdown on a 10-yard carry with 1:28 remaining in regulation.

Linebacker Mikal Baaqee had his first career interception in the second quarter.

Tech has won 19 of its last 21 games played at Lane Stadium/Worsham Field.
 
Using a bruising running game and tenacious defense, Virginia Tech continued its stellar play in night games by hammering Marshall 47-21 in front of 65,049 fans at Lane Stadium and a national audience watching on ESPN.

With the win, the Hokies - ranked ninth in the coaches' poll and 11th in the Associated Press poll - improved to 3-0. Tech also improved to 18-3 in games televised by ESPN. The 16th-ranked Thundering Herd fell to 1-1 on the season.

"I'm proud of the way we blocked and I'm proud of the way we ran and I thought our defense played great," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "They got a couple scores there late, but when it counted, I thought we were very good and you have to give Marshall credit. They can really throw that ball. The quarterback is good and the wide receivers are good. They made some moves on us.

"But the bottom line is we got the win and we did it in pretty convincing fashion. I'm pleased about that."

Tech's ╬untouchable' tandem of Kevin Jones and Lee Suggs led the way for a Tech ground attack that amassed 395 yards rushing. Jones rushed for 171 yards and scored three touchdowns, while Suggs added 153 yards himself and scored two touchdowns.

"The offensive line did a good job of opening holes and we ran hard," Jones said. "Lee and I feed off of each other. When he makes a good play, it makes me want to make one. We're clicking together right now."

But the story of the game may have been Tech's defense, which took a shutout into the fourth quarter and held Byron Leftwich, the Herd's starting quarterback, in check for much of the game. Leftwich, considered by many to be a leading Heisman candidate, completed 31-of-49 for 406 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception. But he threw for 197 yards in the fourth quarter after the Herd trailed 33-0.

Tech took advantage of some Marshall miscues early in the game and bolted out to a 20-0 halftime lead.

In the first quarter - on the Herd's first possession - Marshall receiver Denero Marriott fumbled and that led to a Tech field goal by Carter Warley, which gave the Hokies a 3-0 lead.

Then, on the Herd's second drive, Josh Davis dropped a sure touchdown pass that would have given the Herd a 7-3 lead. Instead, they attempted a field goal and Curtis Head booted it into the back of one of his offensive linemen. Tech took over and then marched 90 yards on nine plays. Jones ended the drive with a 25-yard touchdown run that gave the Hokies a 10-0 lead.

Finally, early in the second quarter, Leftwich threw a horrible pass that was picked off by Mikal Baaqee and returned to the Marshall 22. Tech made Marshall pay when Jones went in from 15 yards, giving the Hokies a 20-0 lead with 9:11 left in the first half.

A couple of 1-yard runs by Suggs in the second half accounted for the rest of Tech's 33-0 lead.

The Hokies now get ready to hit the road for three straight games, starting with a trip to Texas A&M on Sept. 21st. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m.