Hokies whip 'Hoos to keep Commonwealth Cup
By Jimmy Robertson
November 26, 2000

Virginia Tech enhanced its chances of an at-large berth in the Bowl Championship Series by rallying from a seven-point deficit to hammer arch-rival Virginia 42-21 in front of 56,272 fans at Lane Stadium in the season finale for both schools.

With the win, Tech finished its season at 10-1 and now the Hokies await their bowl destination. Barring something unforeseen, the possibilities include the Fiesta, the Sugar or the Gator, but all signs point to the Fiesta and a likely match-up with Notre Dame.

But perhaps of more pleasure to Tech fans, the Hokies ended Virginia's run of 14 consecutive season with seven or more wins. The Cavaliers finished the season 6-5 and will head to Hawaii for a Christmas vacation in either the Oahu or Aloha Bowl.

"This was huge," Tech receiver Emmett Johnson said of the win over UVa. "When you're growing up here in the state, you watch it and you dream about it. This is like a dream come true."

Tech, which came out a tad sluggish on a cold, rainy night in Blacksburg, trailed 14-7 after the first quarter. But the Hokies warmed up behind the running of tailback Lee Suggs, the passing of Michael Vick and the play of a stingy defense.

Suggs' 30-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter tied the game at 14 and started a 28-point barrage that put the Wahoos away. Tech took the lead on a 1-yard run by fullback Jarrett Ferguson with 6:31 left and then Vick got into the picture.

Playing for the first time since the Miami fiasco, Vick marched the Hokies to a score right before halftime, completing 7 of 8 passes in Tech's hurry-up offense. The final completion - a 23-yard strike to Suggs - gave the Hokies a 28-14 halftime lead.

Vick still wasn't 100 percent, but despite the sore ankle, he completed 16 of 23 for 202 yards and a touchdown.

In the second half, Suggs scored on runs of 3 and 6 yards as Tech put the Cavaliers away. His 3-yard run gave the Hokies a 21-point lead and Tech cruised. The redshirt sophomore finished with 116 yards rushing on 23 carries and he scored four touchdowns. Suggs finished the season with 28 touchdowns and now has 30 for his career, tying the school record held by Cyrus Lawrence and James Barber.

"That's just great blocking by my line," Suggs said. "It's not just me, it's them. In fact, it's more them than me."

Tech's defense put the clamps on UVa's offense despite struggling early. In the first quarter, UVa tailback Antwoine Womack rushed for 120 yards. But he finished with 134 as Tech's defense allowed him just 14 yards the rest of the game. Overall, the Hokies held the Wahoos to just 328 yards of total offense. In contrast, Tech amassed 461 yards of total offense, including 259 on the ground as Tech set a BIG EAST single-season rushing record, breaking the mark the Hokies set last season.

"I'm really proud of this football team," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "With the injuries we've had and the inexperience, to be 10-1 is amazing. I'm just proud of what these kids are all about."