Hokies enjoy Homecoming with win over Rutgers
By Jimmy Robertson
October 19, 2002

Post Game Notes Rutgers Scarlet Knights
at #3 Virginia Tech Hokies
Saturday, Oct. 19, 2002
Lane Stadium/Worsham Field - Blacksburg, Va.
Today's game marks the first time since Sept. 11, 1999 (versus Alabama-Birmingham) that a Tech home game was not televised. The last time a Tech football game was not televised was last season at Temple.

Tech running back Lee Suggs finished with a career-high 197 yards on 21 carries for two touchdowns. Suggs has now scored at least one touchdown in 20 consecutive games in which he has played.

Suggs' first touchdown moved him into second place at Tech in career scoring, passing Ryan Williams' (254). He now has 264 career points.

Suggs' 42-yard touchdown run is his longest carry this season. With his 197 yards Saturday, Suggs moved into 11th place all-time at Tech with 2,223 yards, passing James Barber, who had 2,052 rushing yards in his career, and Terry Smoot (2,116). Suggs needs 47 yards to pass Tony Kennedy (2,259) for ninth place.

Both Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones went over the 100-yard plateau for the second game in a row. They become the first duo in modern history (since 1950) to accomplish the feat. This is the third time they've done that this year, tying the school record. Maurice Williams and Eddie Hunter also did it three times in 1986.

Thirteen of the last 18 scoring drives for Tech have covered 70-yards or more. The Hokies' longest drive of the game covered 89 yards on four plays in 1:53 during the second quarter.

Rutgers capitalized on a Bryan Randall interception in the second quarter and scored six plays later on a 12-yard pass to Aaron Martin from Ryan Cubit. The touchdown marked the first points Tech has surrendered off of turnovers and the first touchdown allowed by the Hokies' defense in the first half this season. A later fumble by Suggs also led to a Rutgers touchdown.

Freshman Jimmy F. Williams recorded his first career interception in the second quarter on the 2-yard line, halting a Scarlet Knight scoring drive.

The lost fumble by Lee Suggs in the third quarter was just the second of his career. The miscue came on his 13th carry of the game. Before the carry, Suggs had a streak of 381 consecutive carries in the regular season and 401 overall carries (including the 2000 Gator Bowl) without a fumble. Suggs' only other fumble lost came in 1999, his freshman year, also against Rutgers.

Tech's DeAngelo Hall returned a punt 51 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. It is Hall's second punt return for a touchdown this season. Hall also returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown against Arkansas State.

Tech's eight sacks are a season-high and bring the Hokies' total for the year to 29.

Complete stats from the game
 
Tech tailback Lee Suggs came up 26 yards short of setting the Tech single-game rushing record, churning out a career-high 197 yards, and Kevin Jones added 132 yards himself as the Hokies overcame three turnovers to beat Rutgers 35-14 in front of 64,907 fans on Homecoming at Lane Stadium.

With the win, the No. 3-ranked Hokies remained perfect on the season at 7-0, 2-0 in the BIG EAST. The win marked Tech's 10th straight over Rutgers, which fell to 1-6, 0-3.

Suggs scored on touchdown runs of 3 and 42 yards, extending his streak of scoring at least one touchdown to 19 games (actually 20, if one counts the 2001 Gator Bowl). He came 26 yards of tying the single-game rushing record of 223 yards set by Kenny Lewis against VMI in 1978.

"Someone told me about it near the end of the game and I asked Coach [Billy] Hite if I could go back in," Suggs said. "He said no. He wasn't having any of that and that's fine. I understand.

"The offensive line did a great job of blocking and the holes were open. It gave us a chance to get in the secondary and make some plays."

Suggs' 3-yard touchdown run in the first quarter gave the Hokies a 7-0 lead and his 42-yarder - sandwiched around a 16-yard touchdown catch by Ernest Wilford - gave them a 21-0 lead. But despite Suggs' day, the Hokies struggled to put the Scarlet Knights away, mainly because of turnovers.

A Bryan Randall interception led to Rutgers' first score, a 12-yard touchdown pass by Ryan Cubit to Aaron Martin midway through the second quarter that cut the lead to 21-7.

Jones, though, pushed the lead back to 21 points for the Hokies with a wondrous 58-yard touchdown run with less than three minutes to go in the first half. On that play, Jones took a pitch from Randall and went right, but found a group of Rutgers players awaiting him. So he dodged a couple of defenders, cut back across the field, picked up a great block from Randall, cut back again and scored.

But then Suggs fumbled on the second play of the second half - his first fumble in 401 carries. Rutgers parlayed that into a 31-yard touchdown pass from Cubit to Markis Facyson on a ball that was tipped into the air and fell into Facyson's hands. That made the score 28-14.

Rutgers had a couple of chances to cut into the lead even more. A 17-play fourth-quarter drive got the Scarlet Knights to the Tech 8, but Tech mike linebacker Mikal Baaqee sacked Cubit on fourth-and-1 giving the Hokies the ball.

Randall, however, fumbled on Tech's next possession, which gave the Scarlet Knights the ball on the Tech 42. But Vincent Fuller intercepted a Cubit pass, ending that Rutgers scoring threat.

Tech finally put the game away on a 51-yard punt return by DeAngelo Hall with 4:57 left in the game, which accounted for the final margin.

"I give Rutgers a lot of credit," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "They made a lot of good plays. To go through some tough seasons like they have - and I've been there - I give them a lot of credit.

"Maybe this is good for us. We'd been taking care of the football and you can't give teams three turnovers inside your own 50. But we hung in there and made some plays when we had to and I'm proud of our kids for doing that."

Tech finished the game 492 yards of total offense, including 342 yards rushing. But the Hokies' two fumbles and one interception led to Rutgers' points and Tech committed seven penalties - a lot of them holding penalties - for 61 yards. Last week against BC, Tech committed 15 penalties. Rutgers finished the game with 11 penalties for 100 yards.

"I think we [Tech and Rutgers] were going for the Guiness [Book of World records] record there," Beamer said, shaking his head. "But I thought a couple of them were cheap. We usually don't have that many. But they were calling it both ways."

Rutgers had just 215 yards of total offense, including a minus-7 on the ground. Rutgers quarterbacks were sacked eight times.

Next up for the Hokies is Temple, which visits Lane Stadium next Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.