Friday, December 13, 2002
No. 2 Virginia Tech 22, Syracuse 14
SYRACUSE, N.Y -- They're breathing a huge sigh of relief in Blacksburg.
Lee Suggs rushed for two touchdowns in the third quarter following crucial turnovers as No. 2 Virginia Tech survived its personal house of horrors, rallying for a 22-14 Big East Conference victory over Syracuse.
The Hokies (7-0, 5-0 Big East) won for the first time in five visits to the Carrier Dome since joining the Big East in 1992.
Michael Vick, kept quiet for most of the night, clinched the victory with a 55-yard TD run with 1:34 remaining in the fourth quarter. Vick completed just 6-of-11 for 75 yards and rushed for only nine yards on 16 carries.
For awhile, it appeared that Virginia Tech's drought in Syracuse would continue as the Orangemen (3-4, 1-2) opened a 14-3 halftime lead.
With Miami the lone remaining tough opponent on the schedule, a loss likely would have ended Virginia Tech's national title hopes.
But the game turned early in the third quarter Syracuse quarterback Troy Nunes threw an ill-advised interception deep in his own territory. Nunes stumbled as he dropped back to pass inside the 5, but he put the ball up and it was picked off by Willie Pile at the 10.
Three plays later, Suggs scored on a five-yard TD run to make it 14-9 with 6:24 left in the third quarter. The conversion pass failed, but the Hokies got the ball back as Maurice Jackson fumbled at the Syracuse 21 following a reception.
Suggs barrelled in from the 1, giving Virginia Tech a 15-14 lead with 2:49 left in the period. Again, the Hokies failed to convert the two-point conversion. Syracuse jumped to a quick 14-0 lead in the first period on Dee Brown's nine-yard TD run and Nunes' 78-yard TD strike to Maurice Johnson.
Carter Warley nailed a 47-yard field goal for the Hokies with 7:17 left in the second.