Cavaliers Top No. 21 Virginia Tech, 35-21
Nov. 29, 2003
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Still in his uniform nearly an hour after his last home game, Virginia’s Matt Schaub seemed to be basking in the afterglow of perhaps his biggest victory.
“It’s huge,” Schaub said after leading Virginia to a 35-21 victory against No. 21 Virginia Tech. “To go out and get a win against those guys is huge.”
Schaub threw two touchdown passes and Wali Lundy ran for three scores and caught a touchdown pass for the Cavaliers, who ended a four-year losing streak against the team that had taken over as Virginia’s No. 1.
“I have a lot of respect for the Hokies, but I was getting tired of hearing about the Hokies and Virginia Tech,” Lundy said. “It’s our time.”
The Cavaliers (7-5) scored 21 straight points in the second half, twice converting on fourth down from the 1. Lundy caught a 1-yard pass for the tying touchdown, and ran for his second touchdown to make it 28-14.
Virginia Tech (8-4) got two touchdown runs from Kevin Jones and a 43-yard scoring pass from Bryan Randall to Mike Imoh, but couldn’t stop the Cavaliers’ short passing game when it mattered most.
For Schaub, who threw for just 43 yards in wind-swept Lane Stadium last season just days after being named the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, the day proved a stylish farewell at Scott Stadium.
With two touchdown passes, he tied Shawn Moore for first on the school’s career list with 55 – the only record Schaub didn’t own. Schaub was 32-for-46 for 358 yards.
Schaub completed a 10-yard pass to tight end Heath Miller on a fake field goal with about three minutes left, the first down keeping a drive alive for Lundy’s 19-yard touchdown on the next play to clinch it.
Miller caught 13 passes for 145 yards, and like so many in the Virginia locker room, said winning for the seniors was the best part.
“They really deserved it,” he said.
Almondo Curry is given a ride on his teammates’ shoulders after he made an interception in the fourth quarter to stop a VT drive.
Virginia clinched the victory when Almondo Curry, another senior, intercepted Randall and returned it to the Hokies 14.
“We wanted to cut the oxygen off those guys. We wanted to suck the wind out of them and I think our defense did that,” Curry said.
“It feels so good just to beat Virginia Tech.”
Coach Al Groh agreed, and said the scene in the locker room proved it.
“To see the emotion that was involved with them, the camaraderie, the feeling that they’ve accomplished something, this is what team sports is all about,” Groh said after improving to 1-2 against the Hokies. “This is what we all aim for, to be in a locker room like that.”
The Cavaliers took a 21-14 lead in the third quarter, and got a lot of help from the Hokies after Tony Franklin’s interception at the 20.
First, Vegas Robinson dropped an easy interception around the Cavaliers 30, likely distracted by the open field in front of him.
On the next play, Tom Hagan punted from his 27, Eric Green blocked it, picked it up and ran it into the end zone, but an offsides call against the Hokies negated it, giving the Cavaliers a first down instead.
Schaub missed a wide open Ron Morton deep on the next play, and Morton dropped a screen on second down. But he hit Miller for 10, Art Thomas for 14 and then Alvin Pearman for 49 on third-and-15 for the touchdown.
“We’re in a situation where we’re not doing the things it takes to win football games,” said Hokies coach Frank Beamer, whose team is 2-4 since a 6-0 start.
Tailback Wali Lundy runs in for a touchdown. Virginia won the game 35-21 behind Lundy’s 4 TD’s.
“It’s disappointing. We’ve played some great football and there have been some great moments. I think we’re going to a bowl. I want to get this team back on the field and get us out of the funk we’re in.”
The Hokies went three-and-out and Virginia drove again, this time to Lundy’s 1-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 28-14 lead. Lundy earlier caught a 1-yard pass behind a wall of two tight ends and scored, pulling the Cavaliers even at 14-14 in the third quarter.
Randall, playing his first game as the Hokies only quarterback, was 14-for-26 for 214 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Marcus Vick also played, but mostly as a wide receiver or decoy and rushed three times for 28 yards, once running on a draw from the quarterback spot.
Jones, a junior playing in what many feel was his final regular season game for the Hokies, carried 25 times for just 75 yards. He also caught three passes for 41 yards, all on Virginia Tech’s last scoring drive.
The Hokies led 14-7 at halftime, getting a 1-yard run from Jones to cap a 23-yard drive set up by Robinson’s interception of a tipped pass, and Randall’s pass to Imoh. On the play, Virginia cornerback Tony Franklin was behind Imoh and dove at Imoh’s feet trying to make the tackle, but Imoh kept his balance, turned and scored easily.
The Cavaliers, crisp offensively at the start, got a 1-yard run by Lundy to take a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Marques Hagans had the big play in the drive, an acrobatic twisting catch for 26 yards against DeAngelo Hall on third-and-11.