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SPORTS EXTRA / COLLEGE FOOTBALL | NATIONAL

Virginia Tech Is Headed the Wrong Way

November 04, 2001|Associated Press

On two lost weekends, Virginia Tech has gone from the top five and a possible big bowl to wondering where it is going--and if there will be anything left of the season when the Hokies get there.

All-American receiver Antonio Bryant came out of a nearly season-long slump to catch two of David Priestley's three touchdown passes in the first half and Pittsburgh, taking out a season's worth of frustration, rolled to a 38-7 victory over the No. 12 Hokies on Saturday at Pittsburgh.

The Hokies (6-2, 3-2 Big East) had lost only twice in 30 games before being upset by Syracuse, 22-14, the previous Saturday, and now have lost successive games for the first time since Pitt and Virginia beat them to end the 1997 season. Until Saturday, that was the Hokies' only loss in eight games to Pittsburgh.

"That was the Pitt team I dreaded all summer," said Coach Frank Beamer, whose Hokies needed a last-minute field goal to beat Pitt, 37-34, a year ago in Blacksburg.

Virginia Tech was never in the game, committing four turnovers and being outgained, 393-151, as the Panthers (3-5, 2-3) loaded up the line of scrimmage and dared the Hokies to throw. Grant Noel was 15 of 29 for 118 yards and had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown in the Hokies' worst loss since Syracuse beat them, 52-21, in 1996.

Priestley came out throwing in Pitt's reinstalled pro-style offense and hit Bryant on touchdown passes of 24 and 36 yards, and R.J. English for 33 yards, as the Panthers opened a 24-7 halftime lead helped by Tech mistakes and misplays.

Priestley was 16 for 26 for 245 yards against what was Division I-A's top-ranked defense. He is 34 for 54 for 449 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in two games, including a 33-7 victory at Temple, since Coach Walt Harris stopped rotating him and backup Rod Rutherford. The Panthers also junked the spread offense they used while starting the season 1-5.

Atlantic Coast

Chris Rix threw four touchdown passes and No. 14 Florida State turned Bowden Bowl III into Bowden Blowout II, beating Clemson (5-3, 3-3) for the 10th consecutive time, 41-27, at Clemson, S.C. The victory keeps the Seminoles (6-2, 5-1 ACC) in line for their 10th consecutive conference crown--and keeps Coach Bobby Bowden undefeated against son Tommy in three meetings. ...

Jason Anderson took a short pass from James MacPherson and went 64 yards for a touchdown with 1:42 left at Charlottesville, Va., and Wake Forest ended a 17-game losing streak against Virginia, 34-30. The Demon Deacons (4-4, 2-4), who hadn't won in this series since 1983, when Al Groh was their coach, scored three touchdowns in a wild fourth quarter, sending Groh's Cavaliers (3-6, 2-5) to their fifth consecutive loss. ... Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes and Ray Robinson had an 87-yard scoring run in North Carolina State's 28-point first quarter as the Wolfpack (5-3, 3-3) beat Duke (0-9, 0-6), 55-31, at Durham, N.C. ... Shaun Hill threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns as No. 15 Maryland (8-1) rebounded from its first loss of the season with a 47-14 rout of Troy State (4-4) in a nonconference game at College Park, Md.

Conference USA

Dave Ragone threw for three touchdowns and ran for two, and Louisville (8-1, 4-0) stifled Tulane (2-8, 1-5), 52-7, at New Orleans.

Mid-American

Ben Roethlisberger passed for 305 yards and two touchdowns as Miami of Ohio (7-2, 4-0) beat Bowling Green (5-3, 3-2), 24-21, at Bowling Green, Ohio. ... Byron Leftwich ran for one score and passed for 333 yards and three touchdowns as Marshall beat Kent State, 42-21, at Kent, Ohio. It was the seventh victory in a row for the Thundering Herd (7-1, 4-0). Kent State (4-5, 2-3) was seeking its first four-game winning streak since 1976.

Mountain West

Larry Duncan returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown and Air Force (5-3) retained the service academy Commander-in-Chief's trophy with a 34-24 victory over Army (2-6) at Air Force Academy, Colo. ... Lance Rice caught a touchdown pass and threw for two touchdowns as Utah (6-2, 2-3) beat Nevada Las Vegas (3-6, 2-3), 42-14, at Las Vegas. ... Casey Kelly threw two touchdown passes and New Mexico (4-4, 3-2) held Larry Ned to 93 yards in 27 carries in a 20-15 victory over San Diego State at San Diego.

Western Athletic

David Carr threw five touchdown passes and ran for another score, leading Fresno State to a 52-24 victory over Rice (6-3, 3-2) at Fresno. It was the Bulldogs' first win since consecutive losses to Boise State and Hawaii knocked college football's one-time darlings out of the national rankings for the first time since Sept. 3. Carr finished 20 for 32 for 334 yards for Fresno State (7-2, 3-2). ... Luke McCown passed for 464 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for a score as Louisiana Tech (5-3) defeated Boise State (5-4) , 48-42, at Ruston, La.

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