Virginia Tech 21, Akron 18
by Will Stewart,

Click here for the game recap with stats

In one of the biggest upsets in the history of college football, the University of Akron upended 15th-ranked Virginia Tech 24-21 on a last-second touchdown following a recovered onsides kick. Akron quarterback Q. B. Zippee hit receiver I. M. Catchinit on a 47-yard post pattern as time expired....

Dorothy? Dorothy, wake up!

Hmmm? What? Oh, Auntie Em, I had this terrible dream! I dreamt that the Akron Zips beat the Hokies! It was awful!

Oh, dear, that must have been a bad bump you took on the head! Even Toto knows the Zips can't beat the Hokies!

All right, all right, Hokie fans, calm down. I know you're hating the fact that we only beat Akron's mighty Zips by 3, and I'm not going to dress this pig of a game up in silk, but the bottom line is, we won. That's more than you can say about the BC opener a year ago.

If you're like me, you're less than impressed by Tech's 21-18 win over the Zips, and you're a little surprised that Auntie Em was almost proven wrong. But like I said, if you're like me, you're just a little surprised.

Three major things had transpired over the last few months, weeks, and days to set up the scenario of a close game:

  1. The Hokies were overconfident
  2. Off-field problems had plagued the team
  3. The Zips had already played a game
I think that despite everything they say, the Tech football players are still way too full of Sugar Bowl accolades, and maybe they're having trouble putting that behind them, but a squeaker over Akron should certainly bring them back to earth. The local paper in Akron called the game "the mismatch of the century," which is overdoing it, but if people are saying those sorts of things, complacency is definitely going to sink in. As they say, that's why they play 'em on the field.

Privately, to friends and family, I had been saying all week that the suspension of Hokie running back Marcus Parker loomed huge, given Ken Oxendine's history of injuries. I had no idea that I would be proven right before half time. As I write this, all I know is that Oxendine's injury is a separated shoulder, and it's unknown exactly how long he'll be out. Enter freshman Shyrone Stith, who proved worthy to the challenge, amassing 115 yards rushing. We'll see if the freshman can keep it up against BC.

Also, I'm not going to make any jokes about how Parker, a guy whole stole condoms, was suspended from a game being played in the Rubber Bowl. That joke is too easy, and I like Marcus Parker too much.

As for the Ox, I am the biggest Ken Oxendine fan you'll find, and I really thought that he was ready to explode this year. Well, I guess his fuse is longer than I had hoped, because he's going to have to wait for a while. The guys on the radio were saying 2-4 weeks.

Brian Edmonds's suspension made itself felt early in the game, too, when Tech lined up on Akron's one-yard line with three players who had never carried the ball in college: Stith, fullback Shelly Ellison, and freshman Cullen Hawkins. The ball was handed off to Ellison, and the result was your worst nightmare, a fumble. Had Edmonds been there to give the ball to, the fumble probably wouldn't have occurred.

Tech's inexperience also loomed large in the play of Walter Ford, who botched two punt return attempts and donated Akron's first 8 points. But perhaps the dumbest plays were Cornell Brown's deadball personal foul, when he punched an Akron lineman in the helmet, and Tony Morrison's deadball foul, when he danced around after a big fourth-down sack.

You'd think Tony Morrison would be the last guy dancing around on the field. He should be happy just to be there. But that's another subject.

I saw the Walter Ford safety on TV, and it's one of the worst plays I've ever seen. I feel bad for the guy, because he knows it was an awful play, and it happened right out there in the open, in front of God and everybody else. The ball went over Ford's head at about the 20 and started to roll towards the end zone. Ford turned around, ran after it, and committed the sin of catching it at the 1, running into the end zone with it, and then standing there. Bang, safety. It's enough to make you cringe, and I hope the young man can put it behind him and move on.

The value of a having a game under your belt cannot be underemphasized, and it showed in Akron's improved performance over their season opener. Remember Tech vs. BC last year, when the Hokies lost to an inferior team that had already played a game? Another example is Syracuse. They took a highly ranked team into a game against UNC, which had the unfair advantage of scrimmaging against Clemson the week before. The results? SU sucked up a loss, and Tech would have, if the opponent had been more formidable.

But enough grousing. A win's a win. Two teams ranked in front of the Hokies lost (Syracuse and Northwestern, which lost to Wake Forest), and #17 LSU very nearly went down at the hands of Houston, one of the biggest patsies you can schedule. With SU and Northwestern losing, let's hope the Hokies at least hold their place in the rankings. And let's not overlook the play of the freshman Stith, who did a dynamite job not only of running the ball but hanging on to it, which is tough for freshmen to do. And the defense pretty much shut Akron down, except for a 4th-quarter TD drive that the Zips put together to close the final gap to 3.

If Ford doesn't make his mistakes and Ellison doesn't fumble on the goal line, you've probably got a 28-10 game.

Yeah, I know, if is four-letter word.

My take on the BC game is now even-up. BC is going to start Hasselbeck instead of Mutryn. Combine that with Tech's shaky play and off-the-field problems, and you've got a game that's too close to call.

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