Tech falls short against WVU
By Jimmy Robertson
November 21, 2002

Post Game Notes West Virginia Mountaineers
at #13 Virginia Tech Hokies
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2002
Lane Stadium/Worsham Field - Blacksburg, Va.
Virginia Tech wore its throwback uniforms for the first time this season. The jerseys were replicas of the mid-1960s uniforms worn by Frank Beamer and his teammates. Tech last wore these jerseys two years ago against Virginia.

When senior tailback Lee Suggs scored on a 28-yard option play down the left side with 4:57 left in the first quarter, he broke a long-standing NCAA Division I-A record. Suggs has been a scoring machine for Virginia Tech over the past three years. The senior has quietly found a way into the end zone in 24 consecutive games, dating back to the opener in 2000 against Akron. With his 15-yard touchdown reception at Syracuse, Suggs tied the NCAA mark for consecutive games with a touchdown. When he crossed the goal line Wednesday, he broke a 32-year-old record held by Arkansas' Bill Burnett. Burnett scored 47 touchdowns over a 23-game span from Oct. 5, 1968, through Oct. 31, 1970. Suggs has similar numbers, scoring 50 times from Sept. 2, 2000, when he scored twice against Akron to Nov. 20, 2002, when he scored against the Mountaineers.

With his touchdown, Suggs moved into third place on the BIG EAST Conference's all-time scoring list with 294 points. He also moved into sixth place on Tech's all-time rushing list with his 71 yards, passing Eddie Hunter, who had 2,523 career yards. Suggs now has 2,534 career rushing yards and needs 112 yards to mover past Ken Oxendine (2,645 yards) and into fifth place.

Ernest Wilford's blocked punt in the second quarter was Tech's sixth blocked kick of the season (4 punts, 2 FGs). It also marked the 96th blocked kick under Coach Frank Beamer in 185 games (50 punts, 25 FGs, 21 PATs). It is Wilford's first career blocked kick.

Tech's 14-10 deficit at the break marked the first time this season Tech has been down at the half this season.

Blake Warren's interception in the third quarter was the first of his career.

Quarterback Bryan Randall ran for 125 net yards against the Mountaineers. The last time a Virginia Tech quarterback ran for over 100 yards was on Sept. 28, 2000, when Michael Vick ran for 210 yards at Boston College.

The last time Virginia Tech lost three consecutive regular season games was in 1992, when the Hokies dropped five consecutive games to end the season.

With his five catches for 58 yards, Ernest Wilford now has 38 catches for the year for 774 yards. His 38 catches tie him for the seventh-most in school history for a season. Steve Johnson (1987), Marcus Mickel (1990) and Antonio Freeman (1994) also had 38 receptions in a season. Mike Burnop holds the school record with 46 catches in 1971. Wilford passed Ricky Scales for third place for receiving yards in a season. Ricky Scales (826 in 1972) and André Davis (962 in 1999) are the only marks ahead of him.

Since the start of BIG EAST Conference round-robin play in 1993, Tech is 63-4 when it rushes for 200 yards or more. Tech rushed for 243 yards against WVU Wednesday night.

Virginia Tech (8-3) steps out of conference play on Saturday, Nov. 30 for a home game against in-state rival Virginia in the Dominion Virginia Power Classic. Virginia Tech holds a 42-36-5 lead in the series, which began in 1895. The two teams will play for the Commonwealth Cup. Kickoff is TBA.

Complete stats from the game
 
Virginia Tech's last-gasp attempt at knocking off West Virginia came up short when WVU defensive back Brian King intercepted a Bryan Randall pass in the end zone with less than 30 seconds left as the Hokies lost to West Virginia 21-18 in front of 62,723 fans at Lane Stadium.

Tech fell to 8-3 overall, 3-3 in the BIG EAST. The loss marked Tech's third straight regular-season defeat - the first time that's happened since 1992. The loss also snapped Tech's four-game winning streak over the Mountaineers, who won in Blacksburg for the first time since 1992.

"I thought we battled like heck," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "We're in one of those deals where things just don't seem to go our way right now. I thought our effort was great. I thought our intentions were great. We just can't catch a break right now. You got to make them, too, though, and I understand that."

Tech trailed 21-16 before taking over on its 28 with 9:38 left in the game and driving all the way to the WVU 1. But on three straight plays from the 1 - two runs by Lee Suggs and a quarterback sneak by Randall - Tech failed to score and West Virginia took over on downs with under four minutes remaining.

Tech's defense held, forcing WVU to punt. With 2:30 left in the game, WVU punter Todd James ran out of the end zone for a Tech safety, cutting the WVU lead to 21-18.

WVU (8-3, 5-1) then kicked the ball out of bounds on the ensuing kickoff, giving Tech the ball at the 50. Tech marched to the WVU 11, getting a first down when Randall rushed 14 yards to the 11 with 25 seconds left.

After an incomplete pass, Randall scrambled around and tried to hit Ernest Wilford in the corner of end zone. But King, playing zone, peeled back and picked off the pass, essentially ending the game.

"I thought about going for the field goal before the last play," Beamer said. "We were going to throw it toward the end zone one last time and not take a sack and kick a field goal on the next play. Bryan had a guy in the back of the end zone, but he just couldn't get enough on it. He played hard, though, and he gave us a lot of great plays. I don't fault him a bit."

Randall completed 18-of-30 for 168 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for 125 yards as Tech finished with 243 yards on the ground.

Defensively, though, Tech struggled to stop WVU's running attack. WVU finished with 263 yards rushing - the third straight opponent to rush for more than 200 on the Hokies. Quincy Wilson led the way for the Mountaineers with 125 yards and one touchdown. Avon Cobourne finished with 80 yards and a touchdown.

Tech tailback Lee Suggs rushed for 71 yards in this one and ran himself into the NCAA record book when he scored on a 28-yard run in the first quarter. The WVU game marked the 24th consecutive game in which Suggs has scored at least one touchdown, breaking the previous Division I record of 23 held by former Arkansas standout Bill Burnett (Oct. 5, 1968 through Oct. 31, 1970).

Tech now gets ready to take on in-state rival UVa on Nov. 30. The kickoff time has yet to be determined.