Unlikely heroes lead Hokies past Pitt
By Jimmy Robertson
October 28, 2000

Tech kicker Carter Warley, a redshirt freshman from Richmond, drilled a 27-yard field goal with 16 seconds left to help Virginia Tech keep its national championship hopes alive with a wild 37-34 BIG EAST victory over Pittsburgh in front of 56,272 fans at Lane Stadium.

Tech, ranked No. 2 in both polls, improved to 8-0 on the season, including a 6-0 mark in the BIG EAST. The win sets up next Saturday's showdown against Miami for the BIG EAST championship and a spot in the Bowl Championship Series.

"I don't know if I've ever been more proud of a team," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "To have the injuries we've had, to turn the ball over like we did, to give up as many long plays as we did and yet somehow find a way to win says a lot about this team. I'm just so proud of them."

Tech played the game without big-play receiver André Davis, who missed the game with a heel injury, and the Hokies played the second half without the services of quarterback Michael Vick, who sprained his right ankle before halftime and was unable to return.

Thus, reserve quarterback Dave Meyer took over Tech's offense and his play led Tech to victory.

On the final drive, Tech took over on its own 15 with 4:52 left and the score tied at 34. The Hokies mixed the passing of Meyer and the rushing of tailback Lee Suggs and fullback Jarrett Ferguson to march down the field. Meyer completed four of five passes for 38 yards and the two backs rushed for 26 yards as the Hokies drove to the Pittsburgh 10.

With 20 seconds left, Beamer called a timeout and Warley trotted out on the field. He drilled the kick between the uprights to give Tech the win.

"I was thinking keep my head down and hit straight," Warley said. "I was just going through the basics. I'm pretty excited about it because I've never made a game-winning kick before."

Pittsburgh (5-2, 2-2) took a 34-27 lead on a 29-yard pass from quarterback John Turman to receiver Antonio Bryant with four seconds left in the third quarter. Turman completed 17 of 26 passes for 311 yards and four touchdowns, while Bryant caught nine passes for 127 yards and three scores.

But Pittsburgh never scored again. Tech tied the game on a 3-yard run by Suggs with 12:16 left in the game and then Warley won the game with the field goal in the final seconds.

Suggs scored three touchdowns and rushed for a career-high 164 yards against a defense that went into the game allowing just 78.2 yards rushing per game. As a team, Tech rushed for 283 yards.

Meyer, meanwhile, completed 7-of-13 passes for 114 yards. More importantly, he didn't throw any interceptions.

"I can't say enough about the way everyone hung together," Meyer said. "Everyone kept their composure and kept at it. That's a good testament to this team. It shows the character we have."

Vick is listed as day-to-day, but his status remains questionable for the Miami game. Kickoff for the matchup between two of the nation's top five teams is scheduled for noon and will be televised by CBS.