Tech's defense answers the call in win over Temple
By Jimmy Robertson
October 7, 2000

True freshman cornerback Eric Green, making his first collegiate start, intercepted two passes and Tech's defense held Temple to just 116 yards of total offense as the third-ranked Hokies knocked off the Owls 35-13 on Homecoming at Lane Stadium.

The loss avenges Tech's 28-24 loss to the Temple in 1998 - the last time Temple visited Blacksburg. Coincidentally, Temple beat Tech on Homecoming that day.

The game seemed eerily similar to the 1998 game when the Hokies jumped out to a big lead and then Temple got a big play right before halftime to swing the momentum. This time, Tech (5-0, 3-0 in the BIG EAST) jumped out to a 21-0 lead behind two short touchdown runs from tailback Lee Suggs and a 41-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Vick to fullback Cullen Hawkins.

But Temple (3-3, 0-2) got a huge play right before halftime. Linebacker Chonn Lacey picked off a Vick pass and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown with 1:18 left in the half. That made the score 21-7.

The Owls gained even more momentum after halftime. On the first play of the second half, Vick fumbled - one of three turnovers for him on the day - and Temple recovered deep in Tech territory. The Owls took advantage when quarterback Mike Frost completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Charles Cobb. Temple missed the extra point, but only trailed by eight, 21-13.

But Green made the play to thwart any hope of another Temple miracle. Frost threw a pass that was tipped by Tech linebacker Jake Houseright and intercepted by Green, who returned it 41 yards to the Temple 38. Tech made the Owls pay as Vick later scored on a 5-yard run to take a 28-13 lead. André Kendrick scored on a 14-yard run in the fourth quarter to account for the final margin.

"I think they're a much-improved football team," Beamer said of Temple. "I said that earlier in the week and I really believe that. If they keep going and getting better, they're going to be in the bowl hunt because they play good defense and they have good athletes and they're coached well. I think that program is up and coming."

Vick suffered a subpar day for his standards. He rushed for 55 yards on 18 carries and scored one touchdown and he completed 14-of-28 for 162 yards and a touchdowns, with two interceptions. He did account for 217 of Tech's 376 yards of total offense.

The Hokies, though, didn't need Vick because the defense stepped up. Tech held Temple to just 1-of-14 on third-down conversions and the Owls rushed for minus 15 yards.

"After last week [in which Tech gave up 34 points to BC], we needed to come out and have a big week," linebacker Ben Taylor said. "We needed to get back to the attacking style of defense we're used to playing around here."

Tech now gears up for a Thursday night showdown with West Virginia. Kickoff for the game, which can be seen on ESPN, is set for 8 p.m.