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Hokies bust Broncos, 63-0, as Nachos overwhelm CFF!
EMU looked awesome before some Hokies showed up!
Blacksburg, VA Ė Virginia Tech (1-1) dominated Western Michigan offensively, defensively, on special teams, with the second team and every way imaginable to decimate the MAC team, 63-0, in CollegeFootballFan.comís first game ever at Lane Stadium. The blowout ended a streak of close well-played evenly matched teams since seen by CFF over the last ten games. The victory excited Hokie fans by ending a four game losing skid, disappointed CollegeFootballFan.com after a long trip, and must have made WMU fans disappear since none were seen among the 65,115 fans clad in orange and maroon. Even Western Michigan cheerleaders were in absentia.
The Hokies hit hard early to knock out both starting WMU RB Trivon Riley and starting QB Blayne Bagget out of the game for good. CFF knew the game was over when Bagget was replaced by former Rutgers QB Ryan Cubit, who had transferred after playing under his offensive coordinator dad in 2001 when we saw the Knights get by hapless Navy and lose to winless Cal in the season finale. Hokie QB Bryan Randall threw two TD passes as well as did his replacement, Freshman Sean Glennon. The Tech defense also scored twice and set up the first TD in the blowout. It was the largest margin of victory in a game ever attended by CFF.
The Broncos deferred the ball (first mistake) and held the Hokies to three and out on their first possession. Bagget threw an out pass that was promptly intercepted on the first series by CB Jimmy Williams who brought the ball to the Bronco eleven. On the first play, Randall and his back wheeled left only to pitch the ball to flanker Eddie Royal on a reverse end around and was escorted by three blockers into the end zone to score easily. PK Brandon Pace started off a perfect day on conversions with his first to make it 7-0. Though the score remained the same at the end of the quarter, two key hits were made to change the face of the game early. Rover Back James Griffin laid a shoulder into RB Riley that put him out of the game for good on the next Bronco possession. His replacement Daniel Marks who was about 25 lbs heavier showed some promise on some subsequent runs, but the WMU offense suffered a worse loss when Baggett injured his arm on a hard tackle two series later, which brought the Rutgers transfer into the game. CFF told one Hokie fan that this sealed the fate of the Broncos on this day. On the play, Bagget, who never returned, fumbled the ball to the Hokies who took over on their own 43. The Hokies drove down the field capped off by a 21-yard TD run by TB Cedric Humes to take a 14-0 lead early in Q2.
Cubit looked sharp when he completed his first pass, and that was his highlight for the game. Tech took over again on its own 37. Randall connected with flanker Richard Johnson on a 32-yard pass play to get the Hokies to the one-yard line where TB Justin Hamilton took it in from the one to widen the Hokie lead, 21-0. WMU finally seemed to be responding when it drove in for short FG attempt where Beamer Ball raised its ugly (relatively speaking) hand and deflected the attempt to keep the visitors off the scoreboard. Randall led the Hokies to respond quickly leading his team on a 80-yard drive culminating with a 35-yard scoring strike to wide-out Eddie Royal from 35 yards away to take a 28-0 lead. Western missed another kick wide right before the half ended to keep the shutout intact.
Several series into the second half, it was evident that the Broncos were not ready to make any great comeback effort. CFF was sitting in the last seat on the end of row H in section 103 in the end zone witnessing the pending decimation when PLOP!, a platter of nachos landed directly into the lap of CFF, cheese, Salsa, peppers and chopped meat! A genteel grandmother on the way down the stairs was on her way with lunch for her grandkids when some VA Tech ROTC on his way up bumped her arm and disposed of her treat into CFF's lap. She apologized profusely and offered the wad of napkins she had. Luckily she only got the left leg and missed the new pair of binoculars dangling from around the neck. We cleaned up the shorts as best we could, but it kind of put a damper on any further note taking in what was becoming a boring, blowout for CFF. The accident was a conversation starter to talk football with one Hokie fan as we watched the rest of the game together, a happy victory for him after four losses, and a disappointment to me after having seen so many good games since last season. After the apologetic, nice lady disposed the nachos, the Hokies abruptly disposed of the Broncos with a little over four minutes remaining in Q3. Randall threw a short TD pass to FB John Kinzer on their last play of the game. DT Jason Lallis stripped the ball away from a Bronco offensive lineman who caught a deflected pass and proceeded to ramble 26 yards for another Hokie TD. Randallís replacement, Freshman QB Sean Glennon, next tossed a 34-yard TD to WR Justin Harper to take a 49-0 lead by the end of the third period.
The carnage continued as the nacho cheese dried on my shorts during the fourth period. CB Brandon Flowers picked off a WMU pass and returned it 38 yards for another defensive TD. Glennon connected with third team TE Duane Brown to finish the Hokie route with a 33-yard TD with 5:22 remaining to finalize the scoring at 63-0. As far as CFF is concerned, Western Michigan became our 90th team toward our Goal, and the streak of close games seen since last September up at Chestnut Hill is over. We were due for a clunker and this was it. As we always say, to get to our particular Goal, we have to take the bad, like this one, with the good. Surprisingly, the good could begin again next week with Central Florida at Penn State. For more on that, check out our upcoming Preview.
Extra Points: The Hokies play Ohio U., a team we still have to see, on future schedules, but a ride to Buffalo to see them play the Bulls would be as long but more competitive than to see another blowout down in Blacksburg.
Ironically on this September 11, when all of college football and sports in general remembered those who had died during the 9/11 terrorist attack and remembered all those who have sacrificed their lives since then in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Hokie ROTC Regiment of Cadets and band honored one of their own just killed last week in Iraq. A Lt. Price, a 2001 graduate, was killed in one of the recent uprisings. A moment of silence was observed. It gives one an appreciation that the guys over there come from all walks of life around this county to put their lives on the line for peace and freedom. A scheduled B-52 flyover was made over the stadium before kickoff. To quote Dick Vitale, ďIt was awesome, Baby!Ē
This was the third shutout by the Hokies over the Broncos in their only 3 contests. VT won in 2001, 31-0, and in 2002, 30-0, for a total score of 124-0. Some series! Besides our largest margin of victory ever witnessed, the Hokies tied PSU's '94 victory over Ohio State and UConn's '02 win over Kent State for third in points scored by one team. PSU scored most in a 67-7 win over LA Tech in '00, and Middle Tennessee scored a 66-10 win over UConn in the same year. CFF has now seen Central, Eastern and Western Michigan each play once and lose to Syracuse, Maryland and VT respectively by a combined score of 155-10! On the other hand, we've never seen U of M lose in the three times we saw them play at Penn State.
Walking across campus to the game inspired two thoughts. First, the stone architecture on campus is very reminiscent of the stone structures up at West Point. Secondly, I realized that this was my second visit to Blacksburg albeit not for a football game. On our excursion to Mardi Gras in 1979, Pat Daly and I made it one of our many stops to campuses on our way to and fro to add to our t-shirt collections back at Juniata College. We stopped at Georgia Tech, Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Tulane, and UTC-Chattanooga among others. In the end we rated Virginia Tech best for having the best bookstore, the University of New Orleans for the nicest campus, and Southern Mississippi for having the best looking girls even though we spent no more than half an hour there! I also remember looking back at VA Tech as we drove away and seeing it sitting alone out on a wide-open, dusty plain. It doesnít look like that any more. Is it really progress or just a foggy memory?
Like other stadiums, Lane is under construction for more expansion. This college football thing is getting more and more popular wherever you go. The Hokie fan I spoke to, who played ball himself at Hampden-Sydney, said that hotel rooms were becoming more of a premium in the area with the expansion going on. Thatís the same affect at PSU and others. CFF was able to stay in Roanoke with no problem about 30 miles out of town, but of course thatís not convenient if you want to celebrate in town, especially after a game.
On the way up to Chambersburg, PA to watch PSU versus BC with John and Kelle Massimilla and friends, we had to keep changing radio stations to find a local ESPN radio broadcast to keep up with other games. Also heard UNC at UVA, Bowling Green-SE Missouri, Rutgers-UNH and PSU-BC broadcasts pretty clearly on the way up. At one stretch, all that could be heard was Bridgewater-Shenandoah, two Virginia D3 schools.