Virginia Tech
26, LSU 8
September 1, 2002
by Will Stewart,

                         1   2   3   4    F
                        --  --  --  --   --
Louisiana State (14)     0   0   0   8    8
Virginia Tech (16)       7   7   3   9   26

1st Quarter:
VT-Kevin Jones 2 run (Warley kick), 0:30

2nd Quarter:
VT-Lee Suggs 6 run (Warley kick), 12:58

3rd Quarter:
VT-Warley 41 FG, 11:22

4th Quarter:
VT-Lee Suggs 2 run (Warley kick), 14:02
LSU-Toefield 1 run (Mauck pass to Clayton), 10:00
VT-safety, blocked punt out of end zone, 0:05

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.

Game Notes

  • Suggs' two TD's extended his Tech TD record to 35. Ranked fifth on the VT scoring list, Suggs is now just 14 points behind fourth-place Don Wade (1981-84), trailing him 210 points to 224. Suggs has now scored at least once in his last 15 games.
  • Despite Randall playing most of the game, Tech Coach Frank Beamer refused to address the QB situation after the game, saying that he would talk about it later in the week.
  • Virginia Tech retired Michael Vick's jersey in a pre-game ceremony. Vick held aloft a framed standard-issue Nike jersey, and he was wearing a "throwback" UCLA-style Hokie jersey -- ironically, a jersey like the one he wore in his last home game against Virginia in the 2000 season.
  • LSU fumbled four times, losing one. In Tech's first two games, their opponents have fumbled ten times, losing five. The Hokies are winning the overall turnover battle so far this season, 7 to 2. Both VT turnovers are Bryan Randall fumbles.
  • LSU penetrated the Hokies' 40-yard line just once, on their fourth-quarter TD drive. By contrast, the Hokies started three possessions inside the LSU 40-yard line, scoring two TD's and losing the ball on a fumble.
  • Tech has now blocked 92 kicks in 176 games under Coach Frank Beamer (48 punts, 23 FGs, 21 PATs).
  • Tech punter Vinnie Burns punted nine times for a 44.7 yard average. Burns' punts were 58, 53, 37, 31, 39, 52, 57, 42, and 33 yards. Every one of his punts that were shorter than 40 yards were downed inside the LSU 20, except for one touchback (the 39-yarder).
  • LSU's Davis scored on an 81-yard punt return after VT's first punt, but the play was negated by a block below the waist on LSU.
  • The announced crowd of 65,049 is the biggest in Tech history and the biggest to ever see a game in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


                         LSU          VT
                        ----        ----
First downs               14          13
Rushed-yards           28-80      51-166
Passing yards            134          65
Sacked-yards lost       4-20        3-21
Return yards              52          68
Passes               15-35-1      7-14-0
Punts                 9-27.2      9-44.7
Fumbles-lost             4-1         4-1
Penalties-yards         8-61        8-65
Time of possession     25:56       34:04

Att: 65,049

Individual Statistics

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.


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