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The Rushing Game: VT vs. UVa
by Chris James, TechSideline.com

The annual battle with the Virginia Cavaliers this past Saturday served as confirmation of a few different things. Number one, Virginia Tech is a lot better this season than everyone gave them credit for. Number two, Virginia Tech isnít ready to give up their claim as the top football program in the state. And lastly, winning the Commonwealth Cup doesnít require that you dominate the stat sheet, especially in the running game.

In the past, the question has always been whether or not UVA will be able to stop Virginia Techís powerful running game. And while the Hokies still have a strong running game this year, the question was the exact opposite coming into this game. Would the Hokies be able to stop UVAís two headed monster of Alvin Pearman and Wali Lundy? Technically, no they wouldnít. The Cavaliers rushed for 188 yards to Virginia Techís 147. Pearman rushed for 147 yards by himself. However, that statistic compares favorably to other results of Tech-UVA games in the Beamer Bowl Era, as you can see in the table below.

Year

VT Rush
Yards

UVA Rush
Yards

Outcome

1993

110

167

VT 20-17

1994

33

249

UVA 42-23

1995

79

103

VT 36-29

1996

216

231

VT 26-9

1997

133

112

UVA 34-20

1998

172

73

UVA 36-32

1999

202

51

VT 31-7

2000

262

171

VT 42-21

2001

241

8

VT 31-17

2002

272

152

VT 21-9

2003

151

110

UVA 35-21

2004

147

188

VT 24-10

As you can see, from 1993 to 1996, UVA out rushed Virginia Tech every year. From the 1997 game all the way through 2003, Virginia Tech has out rushed Virginia every time the two teams have met. Of course, that doesnít necessarily indicate a victory.

Despite being out rushed by UVA in the first four years of the Beamer Bowl Era, the Hokies were able to win 3 of those games. In 1993, Virginia Tech was thoroughly whipped in most statistical categories by the Hoos, but the Hokies were able to block a kick and force a fumble to create points, and came away with the victory in Charlottesville.

In 1994, the Hokies just got hammered and never had a chance (those stupid Orange uniforms!). That was another Tech team that fell apart down the stretch and UVA took advantage.

The running games of both teams were non factors in the famous 1995 game in Charlottesville. Both defenses were too good. The game came down to the fact that the Hokies made more plays down the stretch than UVA and managed to win the game despite being out rushed 103 to 79.

The Wahoos once again out rushed the Hokies in 1996 in Blacksburg. However, the statistics are skewed a bit in this game. Tiki Barber broke off a huge run on the first play from scrimmage that carried the Hoos deep into Tech territory, and that run was a major portion of the 236 yards rushing that UVA racked up on the day. In fact, just about everything UVA got came in the first half of that game, as the Hokies dominated the second half and picked up the 26-9 victory.

In 1997 and 1998, the Hokies finally began to out rush UVA. The Hokies out gained the Hoos by 21 yards in 1997 and 99 yards in 1998. However it didnít help matters, as Tech was pounded by UVA in 1997 in a game that wasnít as close as the final score indicated. The 1998 game saw Shyrone Stith put up big rushing numbers, and the Hokies took a 29-7 lead into halftime. Unfortunately for Tech there are two halves, and UVA rallied to win 36-32 despite being dominated on the ground.

Tech has really dominated UVA on the ground since 1999. Until this yearís game, the closest the Cavs have come to the Hokies on the ground was 151 to 110 in 2003. A lot of those 110 yards came on a late run that Wali Lundy broke in the 4th quarter. Despite being out rushed, UVA was able to beat Tech behind the arm of Matt Schaub.

From 1999 to 2002, all Virginia Tech victories in the series, the Hokies crushed UVA in the ground game. The biggest margin during that 4 year span was 241 to 8 in 2001. The smallest margin was 262 to 171 in 2000, which was still a healthy victory for Tech.

As you can see from the graph above, the winning team has only out rushed the losing team in this series in 5 of the 12 games played since 1993. Those 5 games were played in 1994, and 1999-2002. Even more interesting is the fact that those 5 games were relatively easy wins by the winner.

While UVA did out rush Tech this past Saturday, it was hardly in dominating style. 78 of the 188 rushing yards put up by the Wahoos came on one play in the first half by Alvin Pearman. If you take out that one long play, UVA only rushed for 110 yards on 45 carries against the Hokie defense. That comes out to 2.44 yards per carry, a great number against a running game as powerful as that of the Hoos.

The 2004 Battle for the Commonwealth Cup was very similar to the 1996 game. As noted above, UVA broke a huge run early, but the Tech defense held the Cavs to a field goal. UVA took a 9-7 lead into halftime that year, and were winning the statistical battle, but the Hokies would dominate the 2nd half and cruise to victory. Just like the 1996 game, UVA was dominating the stats sheet at halftime, although the game was scoreless this time around. In 1996, the Wahoos could only convert 4 trips inside the Tech 20 into 3 field goals, and they blew opportunities in this game as well. Besides the Lundy fumble, they were also stopped inside the Tech 5 yard line and held to a field goal. From that point on, the Hokies dominated on both sides of the ball and went on to a 24-10 victory.

That UVA game in 1996 clinched a 10 win season for Frank Beamer and the Hokies. It also capped a conference championship season and a trip to an Alliance Bowl (it was called the Bowl Alliance instead of the BCS back then). This year, Tech must travel to Coral Cables to meet the mighty Hurricanes for the ACC Championship. With a win, the Hokies clinch a 10 win season and another trip to one of the ďBig 4Ē bowl games. Hereís hoping it's 1996 all over again.

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If the Hokies win Saturday and receive a coveted Sugar Bowl invitation, be sure to check TSL immediately after the game for Sugar Bowl travel packages offered by Premiere Sports Travel. We're excited about the travel package we're going to offer, which include air fare, three nights stay on Bourbon Street, and tickets to the Sugar Bowl. If the Hokies are ahead when the clock hits 0:00, come back here, book your trip, and be ready to go! Watch the TSL message boards and a special TSLMail for details.

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   TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week


Keys to the Game: Miami
by Raleigh Hokie, 12/3/04, 11:10 am
Coming off an emotional victory against their in-state rivals from Charlottesville, the Hokies head to the heat and humidity of South Florida looking to ride a wave of momentum to victory over the Miami Hurricanes and a berth in the Sugar Bowl. The Hokies have won six of the last nine meetings against mighty Miami, including last year's blowout against the #2-ranked Canes in Blacksburg.
in TSL Pass

TechSideline.com Recruiting Report Archive, 12/1/04 (MP3 Audio)
by TechSideline.com, 12/2/04, 2:30 pm
Mike Harris and Will Stewart go over the season thus far, the comments of the visiting recruits from last weekend, and a review of the 1995 recruiting class, which featured Pierson Prioleau, Keion Carpenter, and Loren Johnson. (Time: 24:22, Size: 4.3 MB)
in TSL Pass

Miami Game Preview
by Jeff Ouellet, 12/2/04, 10:10 am
Given the parity this season in the ACC, it is fitting that the league title will be won during the last conference game on the first Saturday in December. While the rest of the ACC is at home watching, ninth ranked Miami (8-2, 5-2) and tenth ranked Virginia Tech (9-2, 6-1) square off at the Orange Bowl in a game that determines a BCS bid, likely to the Sugar Bowl, and the conference champion. Even Big East Commish Mike Tranghese may take a glance southward, assuming, of course, he can avert his eyes from the potentially BCS determinative clash between Pitt(sburgh) and South Florida.
in Football

TSL Audio: Interview With Bryan Knoll of Canes Time Magazine, 12/1/04 (MP3 Audio)
by TechSideline.com, 12/1/04, 11:00 pm
Will Stewart interviews Bryan "Grassy" Knoll of Canes Time Magazine and CanesTime.com of the Insiders network. Grassy brings us up to date on the Hurricanes' injury status, how they view the game Saturday, and the improvement in Brock Berlin this season. (Time: 16:56, Size: 3.9 MB)
in TSL Audio

I Don't Like to Share
by Jim Alderson, 12/1/04, 4:30 pm
I don't like to share. This less-than-stellar character trait first surfaced during my childhood, a good chunk of which was spent hanging around the nearby house of my grandparents. I had a problem, however. My grandmother, when presenting yet another of her sugary confections that developed the sweet tooth that I still have, insisted I share with my brother and what seemed to be the dozens of cousins always at her house. Not much has changed over the years. I still like sugar and I still donít like to share. Especially when it comes to Virginia Tech football championships and bids to the Sugar Bowl.
in TSL Pass

Tech Talk Tuesday Archive from 11/30/04 (Streaming Audio)
by TechSideline.com, 12/1/04, 2:35 pm
The Tech Talk Tuesday gang reviews the big win over Virginia and previews the ACC championship game against Miami. The headline guest is VT defensive coordinator Bud Foster, who comes on to take some well-deserved praise and talk about the performance of his defense and the team in general.
in TSL Pass

Injuries, Injuries ... and More Injuries
by Stefan Adams, TechSideline.com, 12/1/04, 10:40 am
Injuries most definitely stand out as a place where Miami and Virginia Tech can alter game plans to try and create mismatches. The Hurricanes have battled through injuries for a large majority for the season. Unfortunately for the Hokies, it appears the injury bug has reared its ugly head in Blacksburg after being dormant much of the season. Going into Saturday, question marks will be next to some of Techís most important players including Mike Imoh, Jimmy Martin, Jonathan and Kevin Lewis and Josh Hyman.
in News and Notes

Revisiting the Keys: Virginia
by Raleigh Hokie, 11/30/04, 3:25 pm
In preparing the "Keys to the Game" articles, I break down the individual matchups to identify the two or three that will have the biggest impact on the game. Itís basically a checklist of player matchups and position matchups. For the first time since I started writing these articles, the other guys had more checks in their column than did Tech. While I draw no conclusions simply from that list, the math was a cause for concern and one that I couldnít ignore in my own mind as I entered Lane Stadium on Saturday. Needless to say, I walked out of Lane Stadium feeling much better.
in TSL Pass

ACC Bowl Picture Clearing Up
by Chris James, TechSideline.com, 11/30/04, 10:40 am
Now that the regular season is over for all but two ACC teams, for the first time we can begin to paint an accurate picture of the ACC bowl situation. There are 7 bowl eligible teams in the ACC, and the pieces are starting to fall into place now, as bowl bids are handed out and deals are struck to determine what teams will go where.
in News and Notes

Virginia Game Analysis
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 11/29/04, 11:15 am
The Virginia Tech-Virginia rivalry is full of startling second-half turnarounds in recent years. The most famous are VT's 1995 fourth-quarter comeback from a 29-14 deficit for a 36-29 win, which was answered three years later by the Cavaliers, who came back from a 29-7 half time deficit to shock the Hokies 36-32 in Blacksburg. In each case, the trailing team came back strong for a legendary win, and in much the same fashion, the Hokies rallied from behind to run the Wahoos off the field in this one, outscoring Virginia 24-3 down the stretch for a memorable 24-10 win.
in TSL Pass

Hokies Whip William and Mary on the Road, 80-63
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 11/28/04, 4:55 pm
Williamsburg, VA -- Virginia Tech got 20 points from Jamon Gordon in his best outing of the year and used a first-half spurt to build a big lead and cruise to a 17-point win over the William and Mary Tribe in William and Mary Hall. Gordon was joined in double figures by Carlos Dixon (18 points), Zabian Dowdell (17) and Deron Washington (10), as the Hokies moved to 3-0 on the year.
in Men's Basketball

Virginia Tech 24, Virginia 10
Hokies Clinch Share of ACC Championship With Rollicking Comeback

by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 11/28/04, 12:35 am
Blacksburg, VA ó Going out in style on Senior Day, Virginia Tech quarterback Bryan Randall threw two touchdown passes to Josh Hyman in a near-perfect second half, bringing the Hokies storming from behind to defeat the Virginia Cavaliers 24-10. Down 7-0 in the third quarter, the Hokies outscored UVa 24-3 the rest of the way for the win, clinching at least a share of the ACC title and setting up an ACC championship matchup with Miami in the Orange Bowl next weekend.
in Football

TechSideline.com Recruiting Report Archive, 11/24/04 (MP3 Audio)
by TechSideline.com, 11/24/04, 11:40 am
This week on the TechSideline.com Recruiting Report, Mike Harris and Chris Horne talk about the recent commitment of QB Ike Whitaker, and they go over the list of official visitors for this week's game, which includes a couple of big running back prospects and three OL recruits, among others. (Time: 21:05)
in TSL Pass

Tech Talk Tuesday Archive from 11/23/04 (Streaming Audio)
by TechSideline.com, 11/26/04, 11:50 pm
It's UVa week!  The Tech Talk Tuesday gang speaks with VT defensive line coach Charley Wiles and Richmond Times-Dispatch UVa beat writer (and former VT beat writer) Jeff White. Most of the show is spent talking about the UVa game, of course, but the big 55-6 win over Maryland is also reviewed.
in TSL Pass

 
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