Panthers' late score topples Tech
By Jimmy Robertson
November 9, 2003

Post Game Notes #5 Virginia Tech Hokies
at #25 Pittsburgh Panthers
Saturday, Nov. 8, 2003
Heinz Field - Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Justin Hamilton made his third start of the season and of his career, starting at flanker for an injured Chris Shreve (hamstring). Tight end Jeff King made his first start of the year for an injured Keith Willis (ankle) and his seventh career start.

  • Junior tailback Kevin Jones rushed for a school-record 241 yards on 30 carries. The old mark was 223 yards, set by Kenny Lewis against VMI in 1978. Jones also scored a career-high four touchdowns, including one on a season-long 80-yard run.

  • Jones went over the century mark for the sixth time in the last seven games, rushing for 241 yards. The six 100-yard games this season tie the school record for 100-yard games in a season. Roscoe Coles set the record in 1976 and it was equaled by Cyrus Lawrence in 1980 and 1981, as well as Lee Suggs in 2000. He now has 12 career 100-yard games, placing him third all-time at Tech behind Lawrence (16) and Coles (14).

  • Jones now has 1,104 yards on the season and 2,932 for his career. The career total passes Dwayne Thomas (2,696 yds.; 1992-95) and Lee Suggs (2,767 yds.; 1999-02) and moves him into fourth place all-time at Tech for career rushing yards. Up next in third place is Maurice Williams (2,981 yds.; 1983-86).

  • With five catches tonight, Ernest Wilford moved out of a tie with Myron Richardson (100 rec.; 1986-89) and past Mike Giacolone (103 rec.; 1979-82) and André Davis (103 rec.; 1998-01) into third place all-time at Tech for career catches. He now has 105 career receptions. Up next in second place is Ricky Scales (113 rec.; 1972-74). Antonio Freeman (1991-94) holds the Tech record with 121 career catches.

  • Wilford had 101 yards receiving, giving him 1,688 for his career. It marks the first 100-yard receiving game by a Tech player since last year's Syracuse game, where he had 279 yards and tight end Keith Willis had 118 yards.

  • Vincent Fuller's fumble recovery in the first quarter marked the 28th straight game in which the Hokies have forced a turnover. Fuller finished the game with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

  • Mikal Baaqee recorded his second career interception, and the first of this season, in the second quarter. He becomes the 11th different player this season to intercept a pass for the Hokies.

  • Virginia Tech outrushed Pittsburgh, 269-143, in Saturday night's game and lost. That marks the first loss since 1999 (47 games) in a regular season game where the Hokies outrushed their opponent and lost. Tech's record is now 111-24-2 under Beamer when Tech outrushes its opponent and 46-3 since 1999. Tech is now 45-1 in regular season games since the beginning of the 1999 season when outrushing its opponent.

  • Tech trailed at the half, 14-10. Since the start of the 1993 season, Tech teams are now 9-24 in contests they trailed at the half.

  • The Hokies rushed for 269 yards as a team. It marks just the fifth loss since the start of BIG EAST round-robin play in 1993 for the Hokies when rushing for 200 or more yards. Tech is now 68-5 when rushing for 200 or more yards as a team.

  • Pittsburgh becomes just the second team to beat the Hokies three years in a row as members of the BIG EAST Conference. Miami (2000-2002 & 1992-1994) is the only other program to accomplish that feat.

  • The last time Virginia Tech wore white jerseys with maroon pants was in 1997 at Pittsburgh, a 30-23 loss at Pitt Stadium.

  • Virginia Tech (7-2, 3-2 BIG EAST) will travel to Temple (1-8, 0-4 BIG EAST) on Saturday for a 1 p.m., game at Lincoln Financial Field. Tech defeated Temple last season, 20-10, at Blacksburg. Tech leads the overall series, 13-3, including a forfeit win in 1986.
  • The Virginia Tech Hokies got a record-setting performance from tailback Kevin Jones, but it wasn't enough as Pittsburgh scored a touchdown in the waning moments to knock off the Hokies 31-28 in front of more than 66,000 fans at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

    The loss marked Tech's third straight to the Panthers and the Hokies fell to 7-2 overall on the season, 3-2 in the BIG EAST. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, improved to 7-2, 4-0 and took command of the BIG EAST race.

    "I give Pittsburgh credit," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "They had some big-time players who made some big-time plays. And we had some big-time players who made some great plays, too.

    "We had some great things happen to us. Our kids gave great effort. Their two guys [Fitzgerald and Rutherford] made a few more plays and got us."

    Jones broke the school record by rushing for 241 yards, while also scoring all four of Tech's touchdowns. He broke the previous mark held by Kenny Lewis, who rushed for 223 yards in a Tech win over VMI in 1978.

    Tech trailed 24-14 near the end of the third quarter after Pittsburgh quarterback Rod Rutherford's 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kris Wilson. But the Hokies climbed back in it as Jones scored on an 80-yard jaunt to cut the lead to 24-21 with 1:09 left in the third quarter.

    Tech then took the lead on its next possession, going 59 yards in two plays. Jones finished the drive with a 13-yard run that gave Tech a 28-24 lead with 13:51 left in the game.

    Tech had a chance to put the game away late, driving to the Pittsburgh 30. Tech's coaching staff elected to go for it on fourth-and-4, but quarterback Marcus Vick's pass fell incomplete and the Panthers took over with 4:10 left in the game.

    Pittsburgh then marched 70 yards in nine plays. The Panthers took a 31-28 lead with 47 seconds left on Lousaka Polite's 2-yard run.

    Tech had one last chance, but Vick's pass on the first play of the drive was intercepted and the Panthers ran out the final 30 seconds of the game.

    Rutherford completed 24-of-31 for 303 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. Pittsburgh receiver Larry Fitzgerald caught eight passes for 108 yards - three for 49 yards on Pittsburgh's final drive. He also caught a touchdown pass, extending his NCAA record streak of consecutive games with at least one touchdown catch to 15.

    Vick, who played the final three quarters of the game, completed 8-of-15 for 147 yards, with two interceptions - Tech committed four turnovers for the game. Tech receiver Ernest Wilford caught five passes for 101 yards.

    Tech hopes to bounce back next weekend when it travels to Philadelphia to meet the Temple Owls. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.