Suggs' five TDs pace Hokies in win over UCF
By Jimmy Robertson
November 12, 2000

Virginia Tech, the No. 8-ranked team in the nation, rebounded from its first regular-season loss since the end of the 1998 season by hammering Central Florida 44-21 in front of 50, 220 fans at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

With the win, Tech is now 9-1 on the season. But the Hokies still need a win over UVa in their final game to remain alive for an at-large berth to the Bowl Championship Series. Tech bounced back in a big way after losing to Miami 41-21 the previous week in a game that likely cost the Hokies the BIG EAST title and the automatic berth to the BCS.

"I think their coaching staff wondered how we were going to get up for this game after losing to Miami, but they certainly don't know our kids," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "Our kids came back and played hard like I knew they would. I'm awfully proud of this group."

The Hokies won this one thanks to tailback Lee Suggs, who rushed for 143 yards on 30 carries and scored five touchdowns. Suggs scored on runs of 1, 1, 1, 13 and 4 yards and set the BIG EAST single-season record for rushing touchdowns and overall touchdowns. He now has 24 rushing touchdowns and 24 total on the season. BC's Darnell Campbell held the previous record of 19 rushing scores and 21 total, which he set in 1993.

"Coach Beamer said we were going to run the ball," Suggs said. "The line blocked great and Jarrett [Ferguson] blocked great. It felt good to be able to carry the team and help us win."

Tech's defense also contributed to the cause, forcing six UCF turnovers, which the offense converted into 27 points. The Hokies also sacked UCF quarterbacks six times despite giving up 362 yards passing.

Tech's defense set up the Hokies' first score when defensive end Lamar Cobb recovered a fumble and returned it to the UCF 41. Suggs polished off the 41-yard drive with a 1-yard run to give Tech a 7-0 lead just four minutes into the game.

But UCF answered on its next possession. Quarterback Ryan Schneider, who completed 25 of 41 passes for 346 yards, found Tyson Hinshaw for a 7-yard scoring strike. Schneider threw three touchdown passes, but also fired four interceptions.

Tech, though, responded with another 1-yard run by Suggs with 4:31 left in the first quarter. That started a string of 30 unanswered points for the Hokies. Suggs scored five of Tech's six touchdowns, with defensive end Nathaniel Adibi scoring the other one on a 36-yard fumble return.

Tech finished the game with 313 yards rushing. The Hokies only threw the ball eight times for the game, completing just two. Amazingly, Tech threw just once in the second half.

Tech has an off week before meeting rival UVa the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The off week comes at a good time for Tech. The Hokies played without quarterback Michael Vick and receiver André Davis and lost defensive tackle Chad Beasley (ankle) in the first quarter and reserve quarterback Dave Meyer (ribs) in the third quarter. Neither player returned.

The Tech-UVa game is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.