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Saturday, August 30, 2008
ECU's Lee is unlikely hero in win over Va. Tech

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson
 
 AP Photo/Nell Redmond
 East Carolina's T.J. Lee runs for a touchdown after blocking a Virginia Tech punt in the fourth quarter of ECU's 27-22 upset win.
CHARLOTTE -- T.J. Lee was having a bad day.

The senior receiver from East Carolina had been the subject of many irate rants by coach Skip Holtz for various mistakes throughout the game.

Lee had been called for a 15-yard penalty after a chop block. He missed a block during a called quarterback run that led to short yardage for Patrick Pinkney on a third down and 2. He was late coming out of the huddle and called for an illegal substitution. He was assessed a penalty for two guys in motion.

"It was like, just put a grenade on your chest and pull the pin," Holtz said.

It seemed like every time Lee came off the field, Holtz had another reason to yell in his direction. But something in Lee told him that wasn't how the first game of his senior season was going to end.

With less than two minutes remaining and Virginia Tech in punt formation, Lee broke free on the left side and got his hands on the ball and blocked the kick. He chased it down and ran it 27 yards into the end zone for the game-winning score.

"I told (coach Holtz)I was going to make up for it," Lee said. "But I didn't know I was going to get it like that."

It was Lee's first punt block on his first game with the first-team blocking unit.

"T.J. Lee is a senior, who had made some mistakes earlier in the game and I had been riding him hard," Holtz said. "I knew he was frustrated because he wanted to get back in there and boy he went in there and he changed the course of the game.

"I got on him hard and I'm going to have to go and apologize to him now."