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Big 12: Va. Tech grinds out win against Texas A&M

©Associated Press
September 22, 2002

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Frank Beamer took Virginia Tech into hostile territory, hoping to find out how good his team is.

Playing in a stadium where no nonconference visitor had won since 1988, facing a defense that allowed 33.5 rushing yards a game, the Hokies proved they're for real with a 13-3 victory against Texas A&M on Saturday.

"I couldn't be more proud," Beamer said. "We've beaten three ranked opponents, but until you go up on the road and beat a good team, that's what you can put your stamp on. We're going to enjoy this one."

Then, smiling and tilting his head toward the team bus, he added: "That thing is going to be rocking on the way home."

In the previous two weeks, Virginia Tech easily beat 14th-ranked LSU and then stomped No. 16 Marshall. Those games were in front of home crowds in Blacksburg, Va., as was an opening rout of Arkansas State.

This one wasn't nearly as easy.

With only a few hundred orange-clad Hokies fans among the crowd of 83,746, Tech trailed for the first time this season, didn't go ahead until the third quarter then finally gained control in the fourth quarter.

It wasn't the offense, led by "The Untouchables" backfield of Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones, that came up with the biggest plays. It was a no-nickname defense that came in with stats nearly as good as Texas A&M's "Wrecking Crew."

"We wanted to show we're right up there with the Wrecking Crew," said linebacker Vegas Robinson, whose interception set up the field goal that put Tech up 6-3 early in the third quarter.

The Hokies had two interceptions, a fumble recovery and five sacks -- two on back-to-back plays by defensive ends Nathaniel Adibi and Cols Colas, which pushed one of the Aggies' best drives back to midfield and forced a punt.

On the ensuing drive, Bryan Randall threw a short pass to Ernest Wilford. He bounced out of a tackle by Byron Jones and ran 52 yards to the 1. Suggs plunged in from there, putting Tech up by 10 early in the fourth quarter.

"Once we got that touchdown, we felt like we had it in better control," said Suggs, who extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown to 16.

* * *

TEXAS 41, HOUSTON 11: Cedric Benson ran for 160 yards on 37 carries and Chris Simms passed for two touchdowns for the host Longhorns.

Beau Trahan scored a touchdown on a fake field goal, and Michael Huff returned an interception for a TD for the Longhorns, who beat their old Southwest Conference rivals for the seventh time in a row.

Texas has outscored the Cougars 142-37 in the past three years. Although improved after last season's 0-11 record, Houston had 152 yards of total offense.

Simms was sharp for the third game in a row, completing 20 of 30 passes for 233 yards as his best receiver, Roy Williams, was on the sideline most of the night with a strained hamstring.

N.C. STATE 51, TEXAS TECH 48 (OT): Freshman T.A. McLendon's school record-tying fifth rushing touchdown came from 8 yards in overtime to lift the visiting Wolfpack.

All of McLendon's TD runs came from inside 10 yards. He tied the school mark set in 1972 by Stan Fritts against Wake Forest.

The Wolfpack allowed Texas Tech to score four touchdowns in the fourth quarter, sending the game to overtime tied at 45. The Red Raiders got a 33-yard field goal from Robert Treece on their OT possession.

N.C. State let McLendon do most of the work on their drive. He finished with 150 yards on 32 carries. His previous best this season was 79 yards against New Mexico.

The Wolfpack improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1991.

In a showcase of two top quarterbacks, N.C. State's Philip Rivers passed for 301 yards but no touchdowns, and Tech's Kliff Kingsbury threw for 273 yards and three TDs.

KANSAS STATE 27, USC 20: Ell Roberson came off the bench to throw for one touchdown and run for another, leading the host Wildcats.

Roberson, who lost the starting job during fall practice, replaced Marc Dunn to start the second quarter as the Wildcats withstood the Trojans' fourth-quarter comeback.

Kansas State earned its first home win against a ranked nonconference opponent. The Wildcats had not played a ranked nonconference opponent in the regular season since losing 56-3 at then-No. 8 Washington in September 1991.

The Trojans were the first ranked nonconference team to visit Manhattan since then-No. 17 Iowa beat the Wildcats 45-10 in September 1988.

IOWA STATE 42, TROY STATE 12: Seneca Wallace passed for three touchdowns and ran for another and Todd Miller scored on a punt return for the second time this season for the host Cyclones.

Playing as a ranked team for the first time in 21 years, Iowa State also scored off a blocked kick and dominated a team that gave Nebraska trouble three weeks ago.

Wallace, often throwing on the run, completed 17 of 25 passes for 295 yards with no interceptions.

* * *

BOWLING GREEN 39, KANSAS 16: Josh Harris had 236 yards in total offense and scored three touchdowns, and Joe Alls rushed for a career-high 161 yards for the visiting Falcons.

OKLA. STATE 52, SMU 16: Seymore Shaw scored three times and Josh Fields threw for three touchdowns in a 45-point first half for the host Cowboys.

BAYLOR 37, TULSA 25: Aaron Karas threw for a touchdown and ran for another as the host Bears held on to beat the Golden Hurricanes and stretch the nation's longest losing streak to 14 games.

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