Tech 'D', Suggs take care of WMU
By Jimmy Robertson
September 28, 2002

Post Game Notes #5 Virginia Tech Hokies
at Western Michigan
Saturday, September 28, 2002
Waldo Stadium - Kalamazoo, Mich. Flanker Richard Johnson and linebacker Alex Markogiannakis and split end Terrell Parham made their first career starts Saturday.

With his fumble recovery in the first quarter, linebacker Vegas Robinson now has four takeaways this year - two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Cols Colas forced the fumble, hitting him high while Markogiannakis hit him low.

Bryan Randall's interception in the first quarter was his first of the season, coming on his 42nd pass attempt of the year. It also was the first interception thrown by a Tech quarterback this season. He later threw a second pick. Neither of those interceptions led to points for the Broncos and the five turnovers by Tech in five games have yielded zero points for opponents.

The 0-0 tie at the end of one quarter marked the first time that has happened in a Tech game since the 1999 West Virginia game at Morgantown.

Jon Mollerup's 37-yard field goal was both his first career attempt and make.

The blocked field goal in the second quarter was Tech's second blocked field goal of the year with the other coming against Marshall. The Hokies have also blocked two punts this season. Saturday's block was credited to Jeff King, the first of his career. Tech now has 94 blocks in 179 games under Coach Frank Beamer.

The touchdown by Lee Suggs in the second quarter marked the 18th consecutive game in which he has played the senior has scored a touchdown. With his two touchdowns in the game, Suggs moved into third place in career scoring at Virginia Tech with 240 points. He passed Chris Kinzer on the list (234).

With Suggs' two touchdowns, he has 40 career total touchdowns, setting a new BIG EAST Conference record for career total touchdowns. He passes Boston College's William Green and West Virginia's Amos Zereoue, who shared the old record with 39. Suggs scored on a 5-yard run, tying him with Zereoue in career rushing touchdowns with 38.

Tight end Keith Willis caught two passes Saturday, both of which moved the chains. Forty-five of the last 50 passes caught by Tech tight ends have produced first downs.

The fumble forced by Nathaniel Adibi in the second quarter and returned for a touchdown by Alex Markogiannakis marked Tech's 15th takeaway this season, leading to 58 points. The Hokies had two other fumble recoveries against Western, leading to a field goal.

Markogiannakis' first career score marked the 47th touchdown scored by the defense under Beamer. He became the 55th different player on Tech's defense or special teams to score a touchdown under Beamer.

Since the start of the 1993 season, Tech is 38-5 when scoring a defensive or special teams touchdown.

The WMU game marked just the 10th time since 1950 that the Hokies have held an opponent to just one rushing first down. Tech also limited Western to one rushing first down in the 2001 game at Blacksburg.

In two meetings with Western Michigan, Tech has outscored the Broncos, 61-0. The Hokies beat WMU 31-0 last year at Blacksburg.

In five games, Tech hasn't allowed a touchdown in the first half. The Hokies allowed a field goal at Texas A&M, accounting for the only points they've allowed in the first half this year.

With the 4-0 mark in September this year, the Hokies have now won the last 22 games they've played in the month of September. Tech has not lost a football game in that month since a 52-21 loss at Syracuse on Sept. 28, 1996.

Tech has now won 18 of its last 24 games on turf, but is just 23-20 overall on turf under Frank Beamer. Tech's next game will also be on turf as the Hokies travel to Chestnut Hill on Oct. 10 to take on Boston College on Thursday night football. The game will be televised by ESPN and will kick off at 7:45 p.m. Tech is 7-2 all-time against the Eagles, winning the last six meetings. Tech is 1-1 against BC in Thursday night games, defeating them in 1998 and falling in 1995.
 
Tech's defense notched its first shutout of the season and Lee Suggs became the BIG EAST record holder for career touchdowns as the Hokies knocked off Western Michigan 30-0 in front of 27, 218 fans at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo, Mich.

With the win, the Hokies, who entered the game ranked fifth in the nation, remained unbeaten at 5-0 on the season. Western Michigan fell to 1-3, and for the second consecutive year, the Mid-American Conference team failed to reach the end zone against the Hokies, having been outscored 61-0 in two meetings.

The Hokies overcame a sloppy start in which they gained just 24 yards on their first four possessions, starting three of those drives in Western Michigan territory. Tech got on the board when Jon Mollerup connected on a 37-yard field goal early in the second quarter to give Tech a 3-0 lead. The field goal served as the first of Mollerup's career. The senior kicked in place of Carter Warley, who sat out the first half with a back injury, but Warley came in during the second half to hit a couple of extra points.

Tech put the game away during a two-minute span near the end of the first half. Going to its two-minute offense, Tech went 68 yards with quarterback Bryan Randall completing 4-of-5 on the drive. Randall hit Lee Suggs on a shovel pass that went 28 yards for a touchdown to culminate the drive. Mollerup missed the extra point, but Tech led 9-0 with 1:41 to go in the half.

Then WMU's next possession, quarterback Jon Drach went back to pass, but was hit by Tech defensive end Nathaniel Adibi, who jarred the ball loose. Alex Markogiannakis, making his first career start in place of the injured Mikal Baaqee, picked up the loose ball and went 33 yards for a touchdown. Mollerup's extra point gave Tech a 16-0 lead right before halftime.

"I thought that two-minute span really turned the game around," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "For most of the half, points were tough to come by for both teams and we had the good field position most of the time. So those were big plays at the time."

Tech then put the game away on its first drive of the second half. The Hokies went 84 yards and polished off the drive when Suggs scored on a 5-yard run.

Suggs finished with just 48 yards rushing on the day as both he and Kevin Jones (36 yards rushing) found the going tough against a swarming Western Michigan defense. But he became the BIG EAST's all-time leader for career touchdowns and career rushing touchdowns.

With a 23-0 lead, Tech's defense took care of the rest. The Hokies forced three fumbles, recorded five sacks and held the Broncos to just 268 yards of total offense, including 35 rushing.

Bryan Randall took care of most of the work offensively, throwing for a career-high 194 yards on 13-of-19 from the field. He had one touchdown with two interceptions - his first of the season.

"He's been very steady this year," Beamer said. "He can get us out of jams and he can make people miss. He's throwing the ball well. He's doing a lot of things that help this offense."

The Hokies are off next week. Tech's next game comes the following Thursday at Boston College. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 and the game will be televised by ESPN.