Once again, Michael Vick wove together enough spectacular dodges and escapes to fill up a season's worth of Virginia Tech football highlight films during the Hokies' 48-34 victory over Boston College on Saturday. However, he's still human.
Despite boosting his Heisman Trophy chances with a career-high 210 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries, Vick was far from perfect in all phases of the game. His running was diminished by two lost fumbles, which led to 14 BC points, and a dismal passing day.
"There were a couple of plays I think I was supposed to make," Vick said. "I think about the bad plays more than I think about the good plays, but that's just me."
Vick was only 5-of-17 for a career-low 61 yards and an interception. Many of his incompletions were either overthrown or thrown behind open receivers in the middle of the field.
Tech fans nearly had their worst fears realized when Vick came up limping after taking a helmet blow to his left knee following a 33-yard run in the second quarter. He shook off the injury and led the No. 4-ranked Hokies (4-0 overall, 2-0 Big East) to the win, which almost assured that they will jump one spot in the rankings since No. 3 Florida lost to Mississippi State on Saturday.
Luckily for the Hokies, passing excellence wasn't necessary. Behind Vick and sophomore tailback Lee Suggs, who rolled up 145 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, Tech compiled 420 yards on 57 rushes. Suggs has nine rushing touchdowns, putting him within reach of the Hokies' single-season record for rushing touchdowns (13), set by Tommy Francisco in 1966 and tied by James Barber (1972), Ken Oxendine (1996) and Shyrone Stith (1999).
"I think I was a little hesitant at the start of the season, but now I'm gaining confidence," Suggs said.
Vick's rushing numbers were the most ever by a Tech quarterback, surpassing Bob Schweickert's 204- yard effort against Richmond in 1963. Vick ran for touchdowns of 26 and 11 yards, as well as a dazzling 82-yard scamper that left BC defenders spinning in his wake, putting the Hokies up 48-27.
"It was an all-out blitz and man-to-man coverage, and it opened up in the middle of the field," Vick said of his 82-yard run. "I just pulled it down, ran with it, and the rest was me being me."
While Tech's rushing game was in top form, its run defense showed it still has some holes. BC ran 40 times for 213 yards, led by sophomore William Green's 117 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. The damage could have been much worse if BC senior Cedric Washington, who rushed 10 times for 63 yards and a touchdown, hadn't gone down with an injury to his right knee in the second quarter.
Touted as one of the Hokies' toughest road challenges of the season, the Eagles lived up to the hype in the early going. When senior quarterback Tim Hasselbeck found sophomore wide receiver Jamal Burke on a 6-yard touchdown pass with 13:32 remaining in the second quarter, BC tied the game at 14. Tech came back with two quick touchdowns on runs of 24 yards by Suggs and 26 yards by Vick to build a 28-14 cushion with 6:09 left in the half.
Though Virginia Tech remained comfortably ahead for the remainder of the afternoon, BC put a jolt into the Hokies midway through the third quarter. Tech was leading 42-20, but BC (2-2, 0-2) pinned the Hokies back at their own 2-yard line following a punt with 5:09 left in the third. Following an exchange of 5-yard dead-ball penalties by both teams, the Hokies opted to pass on first-and-10 instead of running the ball and eating away at the clock.
Eagles junior cornerback Lenny Walls stepped in front of Vick's pass at the 11-yard line and put BC in business with an interception. The responsibility to come up with a huge stop immediately shifted to the Hokies' defense, and it responded.
After Green ripped off a 10-yard run to give the Eagles first-and-goal at the 1, Tech stuffed the Eagles on four plays, bolstered by stops from junior linebacker Jake Houseright and senior rover Cory Bird. Hasselbeck threw incomplete into the end zone on fourth down.
"We're happy as heck to get out of here with a win, but I think it's obvious that we've got a lot of work to do," coach Frank Beamer said.
Oct. 1, 2000: Hokies outgun Boston College as Vick runs wild
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