Miscues Enable No. 18 Virginia Tech To Defeat Cavaliers, 31-17
Nov 17, 2001
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.- Grant Noel took advantage of three first-quarterturnovers by Virginia, turning them into 17 points, and No. 18 Virginia Techused a short field to beat Virginia 31-17 Saturday.
Noel, maligned for his inability to throw deep, had three touchdown passesin the first half, hitting Andre Davis with 26- and 58-yard throws and JarrettFerguson with a 17-yarder as the Hokies (9-2) led 31-0 at halftime.
Virginia (4-7) lost three fumbles and an interception in the first half, andeach time the Hokies cashed in. They had touchdown drives of 18 and 15 yards, a12-yard drive to a field goal and two sustained marches.
Virginia got going in the second half, scoring on a 2-yard run by MattSchaub, David Greene’s 35-yard field goal and Schaub’s 1-yard pass to TyreeForeman with 10:53 left, but then the Hokies defense stiffened.
The Hokies’ long drives both ended with Noel finding Davis, once for 26yards in the end zone, the other for 58 yards. Davis caught the latter with twodefenders close, spun free and sprinted easily to the end zone.
It was the longest pass play of the season for the Hokies.
Noel was 12-for-22 for 190 yards. Davis caught three for 126 yards. KevinJones, who was featured in the Hokies’ offense in a conservative second half,finished with 181 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries.
The 83rd meeting between the schools was all Hokies at the start, givingthem a 42-36-5 edge all-time and the first three-game win streak in the rivalrysince the Cavaliers won three in a row between 1987-89.
David Pugh sacked Bryson Spinner for a 10-yard loss on the first play, andthe Hokies’ pass rushers spent a lot of time in Virginia’s backfield.
Spinner eventually left in the second quarter and spent the rest of the halfsitting woozy on the bench being attended to by trainers.
After Carter Warley missed a 32-yard field goal try for the Hokies, BenTaylor knocked the ball from Spinner’s hands on a second-and-6 rush, KevinMcCadam recovered and the Hokies had the ball at Virginia’s 18.
It took two plays for Noel to hit Ferguson in the end zone.
A fumble on the ensuing kickoff by Tavon Mason set the Hokies up at theCavaliers 22, resulting in a 27-yard field goal by Warley, and an interceptionby Spinner on the next series gave it back to the Hokies.
This time, they had to work for it, driving 92 yards in six plays. Noel hada 42-yard pass to Davis on a third-and-4 play from his own 30, then hit himagain for 26 yards in the end zone to make it 17-0.
The 58-yard pass to Davis and a 1-yard dive by Jones in the second quartermade it 31-0. Jones’ TD capped a 15-yard drive set up when a punt went throughAlvin Pearman’s hands and Browning Wynn recovered.
The game drew a crowd of 61,625, a record for a college football game in thestate.