Virginia Tech 26, LSU 8
September 1, 2002
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com
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Blacksburg, VA - The Hokies treated the visiting LSU Tigers to a healthy dose of Beamerball and rolled to an easier-than-expected victory behind their defense and special teams, downing the defending SEC champs 26-8.
In a game that was a statistical draw offensively, the Hokies blocked two kicks, controlled field position, and scored on a couple of short touchdown drives. Tech had a 17-0 lead after three quarters and then held on in the fourth for the victory.
The 17-0 lead was built on the strength of two TD drives of 27 and 29 yards and a field goal drive of 26 yards. Tech's first score came late in the first quarter, after the Hokies backed LSU up to their 8 yard line, then returned an LSU punt to the LSU 27-yard line. From there, the Hokies scored in 6 plays, with Kevin Jones taking it in from the two yard line.
After their first TD, the Hokies struck again quickly on the strength of a VT football staple: the blocked kick. The Hokies forced a three-and-out, and Justin Hamilton blocked LSU's punt, with Tech taking over at the Tiger 29-yard line. This time, it took Tech four plays to score, with Lee Suggs taking it in from the 6-yard line. That made it 14-0 Tech, early second quarter, and it was all the Hokies would need.
Starting QB Grant Noel played the first two series for Tech, then tweaked his injured knee and was replaced by Bryan Randall with 6:10 to go in the first quarter. Randall played the rest of the game, going 5-of-9 for 47 yards, no interceptions, and no TD's. Collectively, Randall and Noel were just 7-of-14 for 65 yards on a day when the Hokies ran the ball 51 times for 166 yards.
After going up 14-0, the Hokies stretched it to 17-0 early in the third quarter by driving from the 50 to the LSU 24 yard line, where Carter Warley punched in a 41-yard field goal.Tech's Vegas Robinson had a bizarre interception on an LSU pass late in the third quarter. Mauck threw the ball to Domanick Davis, who bobbled it and kicked it up into the air, where the trailing Robinson picked it off and returned it 8 yards to the Tech 42. From there, the Hokies had their longest drive of the day, going 58 yards in 5 plays, culminating in a 2-yard Suggs TD run that made it 24-0.
Suggs' TD was set up by a spectacular 34-yard cutback run by Kevin Jones on the second play of the fourth quarter. From the LSU 36 yards line, Jones headed right, was hit by several LSU players and driven backwards, ran forward, then executed an incredible bounce-back and cutback left. He nearly outran the LSU defense for a TD but was tracked down at the LSU 2-yard line, where Suggs took it in on the next play.
LSU finally got on the board by responding with a 10-play, 82-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard TD run by LaBrandon Toefield. LSU QB Matt Mauck completed five straight passes in the drive, tacking on a 2-point conversion to close the gap to 24-8 with 10:00 to go.
After the Hokies meekly went three-and-out, LSU took over on their own 40 with 7:28 to go. The Tigers went for it on fourth and 3 from their 47, but Mauck's deep sideline throw to Bennie Brazell was beautifully defended by Tech's Garnell Wilds, and the Hokies took over.
Tech stopped another fourth down later in the quarter, and on LSU's last possession of the game, a punt on fourth and 24 from the LSU 1-yard line was blocked out of the end zone by Jason Lallis for a safety with 5 seconds to go in the game, for the final margin of 26-8.
The real story of the game was the Hokie defense, which limited LSU to 85 first half yards and 214 yards overall. LSU did not convert a third down until the fourth quarter, going 0-of-9 in the first three quarters and 1-of-13 overall. LSU QB Matt Mauck was rattled by the Hokies, who sacked him four times for 20 yards in losses, with defensive end Jim Davis leading the way with three of those sacks.
Mauck was also contained by the Hokies when he attempted to scramble. The athletic Mauck was held to 6 yards on 10 carries (including the 20 yards lost in sacks), with his longest scramble being just 7yards. When he did make a good throw, Mauck was often the victim of dropped passes. He went 15-of-35 for 134 yards, one interception, and no TD's, with the LSU receivers and tailbacks dropping close to 10 passes.
LSU star receiver Michael Clayton was limited to 5 catches for 49 yards, with 38 of those receiving yards coming after the Hokies had built their 17-0 lead.
Kevin Jones had 70 yards on 14 carries, and fellow "Untouchable" tailback Lee Suggs registered 91 yards on 22 carries.
Tech, now 2-0, will not play again until Thursday, September 12th, when they face the Marshall Thundering Herd and Heisman Trophy candidate Byron Leftwich.
RUSHING: LSU-LaBrandon Toefield 10-46, Domanick Davis 7-23, Matt Mauck 10-6, Joseph Addai 1-5. VIRGINIA TECH-Lee Suggs 22-91, Kevin Jones 14-70, Bryan Randall 14-6, - Team 1-MINUS 1.
PASSING: LSU-Matt Mauck 15-35-134- 1. VIRGINIA TECH-Bryan Randall 5-9-47- 0. Grant Noel 2-5-18- 0.
RECEIVING: LSU-Michael Clayton 5-49, LaBrandon Toefield 3-20, Bennie Brazell 1-12, Eric Edwards 1-11, Devery Henderson 1-10, Joseph Addai 1-9, Shyrone Carey 1-9, Domanick Davis 1-8, Jerel Myers 1-6. VIRGINIA TECH-Cedric Humes 1-17, Ernest Wilford 1-11, Terrell Parham 1-11, Shawn Witten 1-8, Keith Willis 1-7, Lee Suggs 1-6, Doug Easlick 1-5.