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SPORTS WEEKEND | AROUND THE NATION

Vick Has an Easy Night

September 08, 2000|From Associated Press

Virginia Tech answered some major questions about its young football team Thursday night, all while reiterating its strength--special teams.

The 10th-ranked Hokies (2-0) blocked two kicks, disrupted another one deep in East Carolina territory and had an 87-yard punt return in the first half en route to a 45-28 victory at Greenville, N.C.

"It's not just coming out and blocking a kick, it's making the opponent nervous for a bad snap or a bobble," said Cory Bird, who emerged from the locker room and grabbed a piece of turf to take back to Blacksburg, Va., in a lunch bucket. "We came out and intimidated."

Quarterback Michael Vick barely broke a sweat in the opening 30 minutes, completing five passes for 56 yards. But Virginia Tech still managed a 31-0 lead in beating the Pirates (1-1) for the fifth consecutive time since 1993.

"At halftime I told them we probably had lost the football game," East Carolina Coach Steve Logan said. "I asked them, 'How do you want to finish this game?' "

Vick finished with 106 yards passing and 13 yards rushing, but the Hokies didn't need a big game from their star quarterback.

Punter Wes Herlocker was not to blame for two disastrous attempts three minutes apart that gave the Hokies a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.

Herlocker was dropped at the East Carolina 35 after the ball came skidding back to him from snapper Ryan Luckadoo. That miscue resulted in a 46-yard field goal by Carter Warley.

The next snap from Luckadoo was high, and Wayne Ward burst through to block the kick. Bird scooped up the ball and raced into the end zone untouched from 9 yards out.

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Jegil Dugger ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and Willie Quinnie set up the winning touchdown with a 65-yard reception as Alabama Birmingham opened its season with a 20-15 victory over Division I-AA Chattanooga (1-1) in Birmingham, Ala.

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Tennessee quarterback Joey Mathews left practice early because of a knee injury and is scheduled to have an MRI exam today.

"He just kind of felt it pop," Volunteer Coach Phillip Fulmer said. "It's obviously a concern to us. He said he didn't know when he did it or if he did it."

The No. 12 Volunteers are idle this weekend. They will face No. 8 Florida a week from Saturday.

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Wisconsin wide receiver Chris Chambers won't be allowed to serve his three-game suspension while injured after all.

NCAA spokesman Wally Renfro said the organization was incorrect when it announced last week a player can serve a suspension while too injured to play.

Chambers is one of 26 Wisconsin football players the NCAA suspended last week for one to three games for receiving unadvertised discounts at a store.

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Starting offensive tackle Brett Williams could miss Florida State's game against Georgia Tech Saturday because of a severely sprained left ankle. The sophomore left in the second quarter of the Seminoles' victory over Brigham Young Aug. 26. . . . Freshman wide receiver Jovan Witherspoon has withdrawn from Notre Dame.

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