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Big East: West Virginia quarterback tops his rival at last on bigger stage

©Associated Press
December 1, 2002

PITTSBURGH -- West Virginia quarterback Rasheed Marshall didn't beat Pitt's Rod Rutherford in three high school matchups. Never came close. So he saved his best performance back home for a much bigger game.

West Virginia turned two Rutherford turnovers into touchdowns Saturday and the Mountaineers held off Pittsburgh 24-17 with a late defensive stand.

Marshall, whose Pittsburgh Brashear High team was outscored 138-0 in three games against Pittsburgh Perry in Rutherford's years there, ran for a touchdown, threw for another and set up a score with a 25-yard reception.

"We kept telling Rasheed to settle down, that he was at home and to just settle down and make plays," running back Quincy Wilson said. "We kept running the ball and running it and running it, and that made the (other) plays work."

The Panthers committed four turnovers and forced none. They were outrushed 231-195 despite Brandon Miree's 121 yards.

"This was a very hard game to lose," Pittsburgh coach Walt Harris said. "You can't turn the ball over. ... In the games we've lost, we've been our worst enemy."

With the score tied at 10, Pitt had turnovers on three consecutive possessions late in the second quarter and early in the third, and West Virginia capitalized on the mistakes to surge to a 24-10 lead.

The Panthers drove from their 7 to the Mountaineer 11 as time wound down. But Rutherford was sacked on first down, then threw three consecutive incompletions into the end zone from the 14.

* * *

VIRGINIA TECH 21, VIRGINIA 9: A return to an old formula for success, and a visit from a heated rival, was what the host Hokies needed to end their longest losing streak in a decade.

Lee Suggs ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns for Virginia Tech, which rediscovered its defense to end a three-game skid and beat its state rival for the fourth consecutive year.

The Hokies rushed for 272 yards on 50 carries and also turned a blocked punt into a touchdown.

"We knew we were going to have to run," said Suggs, who scored on runs on 4 yards in the second quarter and 5 yards with 5:08 left. "We came out with fire in our hearts."

The game was especially emotional for Suggs and 12 other seniors making their final appearances at Lane Stadium, and Suggs seemingly ran harder than he had in weeks, with 12-yard runs on his first two carries.

The Hokies allowed 203 total yards to end their longest skid since they dropped five in a row in 1992.

Early in the second quarter, Justin Hamilton slapped Tom Hagan's punt toward the end zone. Darryl Tapp picked up the loose ball 36 yards later and carried it 11 yards for a touchdown to give Tech a 7-3 lead.

BOSTON COLLEGE 44, RUTGERS 14: Derrick Knight ran for 205 yards and one touchdown and caught a 52-yard pass for another score for the host Eagles, who extended the Scarlet Knights' league losing streak to 22 games.

Boston College is likely to go to its school-record fourth consecutive postseason game, the San Francisco Bowl on Dec. 31.

The Eagles have won eight or more games in consecutive regular seasons for the first time since Tom Coughlin's 1992-93 teams.

BC outgained Rutgers on the ground 313-80. The Eagles went ahead for good late in the first quarter on Brandon Brokaw's 6-yard run.

Two plays after BC's Josh Ott picked off Ryan Hart's pass at the Eagle 47, St. Pierre hit Knight in the right flat and he raced down the sideline for a touchdown and a 17-7 lead.

The Scarlet Knights are winless in three straight conference seasons. Their last Big East win was against Syracuse in 1999.

"We'll get better," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. " ... The thing that hurts me a great deal is that the seniors have to leave here before it gets done."

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