Tech snaps skid with huge win over rival UVa
By Jimmy Robertson
November 30, 2002

Post Game Notes Virginia Cavaliers
at #22 Virginia Tech Hokies
Saturday, Nov. 30, 2002
Lane Stadium/Worsham Field - Blacksburg, Va.
Justin Hamilton's blocked punt in the second quarter marked his second block of the season and the seventh block (five punts) by the Hokies this year. Darryl Tapp picked up the ball at the 11-yard line and scored his first career touchdown. Under head coach Frank Beamer, that is now the 97th blocked kicked in 186 games. Tapp becomes the 56th different player on Tech's defense or special teams to score a touchdown.

With his touchdown in the second quarter, Lee Suggs has now scored in 25 straight games in which he has played. That mark extends his Division I-A record for consecutive games played with a touchdown.

Suggs recorded his 11th career 100-yard rushing effort with 108 yards against Virginia. His 11 100-yard games tie him for third place in Tech history for those games. Both Eddie Hunter and Ken Oxendine ran for over 100 yards 11 times during their career.

Suggs now has 2,642 career yards and needs four yards to move past Ken Oxendine (2,645) and into fifth place on Tech's career rushing list.

With his two catches for 33 yards, Ernest Wilford now has 40 catches for the year for 807 yards. His 40 catches place him fifth in school history for a season. Mike Burnop holds the school record with 46 catches in 1971.

Garnell Wilds' interception near the end of the third quarter marked his fourth of the season, tying him with DeAngelo Hall and Vincent Fuller for the team lead. That interception marked the 62nd for the Hokies since the start of the 2000 season.

Cols Colas unofficially was in on three sacks against the Cavaliers, marking the third time this season a Tech defensive end has accomplished the feat. Nathaniel Adibi had three sacks against Texas A&M while Jim Davis had three against LSU.

The attendance of 65,097 was the largest crowd to ever see a football game in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The previous record was 65,049 for Virginia Tech's games against LSU and Marshall earlier this year.

Lee Suggs (1,200) and Kevin Jones (835) became Tech's most productive running back combination for a single season in Tech history. Suggs and Jones' combined total of 2,035 yards rushing surpasses the previous best held by Phil Rogers (1,036) and James Barber (927), who had 1,963 yards in 1973.

Virginia Tech has now out-rushed Virginia in 24 of the last 31 meetings. Tech had 272 yards on the ground while the Cavaliers had 152.

Tech has now won four games in a row against the Cavaliers. The last time any team won four in a row in the series was from 1980-1983 when the Hokies took four consecutive games.

Tech (9-4, 3-3 BIG EAST) wraps up its regular season on Dec. 7 when it travels to play top-ranked Miami. The game will kick off at 1 p.m., and will be televised by ABC. Miami leads the series 14-5 after last year's 26-24 win over the Hokies in Blacksburg.

Complete stats from the game
 
Playing in his final game at Lane Stadium, Lee Suggs rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-clincher, and Tech's defense put forth a dominating performance as the Hokies handed rival UVa a 21-9 loss in front of a record crowd of 65,097 fans on Senior Day in Blacksburg.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Tech, which improved its record to 9-3 on the season (3-3 in the BIG EAST). But more importantly, the win marked the Hokies' fourth straight victory over UVa - the first time that's happened since 1980-83 - and insured the Commonwealth Cup, a four-foot cherry and marble trophy which goes to the winner of the state's biggest game, stays in Blacksburg for yet another year.

"It meant a lot to this senior class and to those younger guys," said senior Willie Pile, who, along with Tech's 12 other seniors, goes out with a perfect 4-0 mark against the Cavaliers. "They'll see. When they go home and see all those UVa guys, they're the ones who can bring up the conversation about football."

Playing in 20-30 mph winds, with snow squalls occasionally blowing in, the Hokies relied on their running game and Suggs ended up putting the game away for the Hokies. Taking over at the UVa 44, Tech marched the distance and put an end to the drive when Suggs scored on a 6-yard run. Carter Warley's extra point gave the Hokies a 21-9 lead with 5:08 left in the game.

"I couldn't have dreamed of a better way of going out than to get a win and score that last touchdown to seal the game," Suggs said. "That's how it should be."

On its ensuing possession, UVa went three-and-out and punted. Tech, behind the solid blocking of an offensive line which paved the way for a 272-yard rushing day, ran out the final 3:30 of the game and started celebrating.

"The circumstances around this game make it a good win," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "I keep saying that if I could change a play in each of the last three games, then we'd have won. But the fact is they were heart-breaking losses, and for our guys to hang in there and beat a quality team like Virginia, says a lot about our players."

UVa amassed just 203 yards of total offense against a Tech defense that had given up 200 yards rushing alone to each of the past three opponents. UVa quarterback Matt Schaub, the ACC's player of the year, threw for just 43 yards as the windy, snowy conditions hampered the passing attacks for both teams.

UVa scored its only points when Tech turned the ball over. A Bryan Randall interception led to a first-quarter field goal that gave the Cavaliers a 3-0 lead. And down 14-3, the Cavaliers took advantage of a Kevin Jones fumble and capitalized when Schaub threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Heath Miller. A missed extra point made the score 14-9 with 10:09 left in the third quarter.

Tech took a 7-3 thanks to a blocked punt. Justin Hamilton, a redshirt freshman receiver, blocked the punt of UVa's Tom Hagan and Darryl Tapp carried it into the end zone for the touchdown. The block marked Tech's seventh of the season (five punts) and the second for Hamilton as the Hokies took a 7-3 lead.

The Hokies then took a 14-3 lead shortly before halftime when Suggs scored on a 4-yard run. The game marked the 25th consecutive that Suggs has scored at least one touchdown, extending his NCAA Division I record. Suggs has scored a touchdown in every game he's started at Tech.

"It's big," Suggs said. "I went to school with [Jermaine] Hardy over there, and when I see him, I'll have bragging rights. If I see any of their seniors, I'll have bragging rights over them, too."

Tech finished with 357 yards of total offense. Kevin Jones added 91 yards rushing and Randall completed 5-of-11 for 85 yards, with the one interception. He also rushed for 67 yards.

The Hokies should know their bowl destination within the next couple of days. Representatives from both the Insight and Continental Tire Bowls were on hand and the Hokies appear to be bound to one of those two bowls.

Tech finishes its season next weekend in Miami when it takes on the No. 1-ranked Hurricanes. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. and the game will be televised by ABC.