User ID: Password:

October 18, 2010

Oct. 7, 1989 - Tech 'D' gets an 'A'

By: Jimmy Robertson

12-10, Hokies - Tech win over West Virginia was no fluke

By Chris Colston
(Reprinted from Vol. 7, No. 7 edition of the Hokie Huddler)

Tony Kennedy was a part of Tech’s squad that upset No. 9 West Virginia in 1989.

Some knelt on one knee with their head down. Some took a West Virginia banner and stomped on it gleefully.

Some showed off some fine synchronized hopping at midfield. Others were content to simply roll around on the artificial turf of Mountaineer Field like an alligator with a bad back itch.

They peered into the lenses of video cameras and made funny faces. They sprinted to the corner of the stadium, where the Tech faithful stood and cheered them. They prayed in the end zone.

You’d a thunk they had just won a gazillion dollars or something.

Close. Redshirt freshman Mickey Thomas kicked four field goals, and lowly Virginia Tech beat ninth-ranked West Virginia in Morgantown 12-10.

That’s why a bunch of 18-, 19-, 20- and 21-year-old guys were permitted to publicly act like so many blithering idiots.

If you’re enough of a fan to subscribe to the Hokie Huddler, then you know this one was an all-time shocker.

Tech was without its starting quarterback, tailback and senior leader in its secondary.

But it didn’t matter.

News of the upset was heard all the way in Seoul, South Korea, via the Armed Services Network. I know, because my brother, Steve, is there photographing a special report for WSLS-TV (Roanoke), and he called to tell me. Collect.

The game was no fluke. With Cam Young, a Billy Kilmer-play alike, Tech’s offense controlled the ball for nearly 36 minutes.

Yes, with the wildly talented Will Furrer, the Hokies (3-1-1) always were a threat to break open a big play. That’s not as likely with Young, but like Larry Bird, he realizes this and doesn’t try to do what he cannot do.

Instead, he’s content to patiently keep the chains moving.

If Young doesn’t see a receiver open, he won’t force a pass; he’ll tuck the ball and run.

And he showed last weekend that although he’s an old dog (fifth-year senior), he can learn a new trick; say a hook-slide.

Anyway, with this Tech defense, you don’t need to be the Houston Cougars. If you can keep it out of a hole and not turn the ball over – and score once in awhile – you can win.

Defensively, the Hokies have a strange mix. There’s stubby Bryan Campbell, who rolls around the carpet, unblockable, until he trips up the man with the ball.

There’s Scott Hill, with forearms thicker than Major Harris’ calves, scooting around blockers like they were wooden soldiers.

There are the junior ends, Al Chamblee and Jimmy Whitten, who could start for just about anybody. Maybe even West Virginia.

Linebacker Randy Cockrell plays like a healthy Shane Conlan, and he has all his own teeth. Bobby Martin, who DOES have the teeth of Shane Conlan, scoops up tackles like Godzilla scoops up unsuspecting villagers.

And the young defensive backs came through. Believe it or not, senior cornerback Roger Brown wasn’t missed against the Mountaineers. Greg Lassiter did an exceptional job of staying with his man, as did John Granby and Damien Russell.

A true freshman, Kirk Alexander, even got in the act, with a 44-yard interception return.

Defensive stars abound: Darwin Herdman, Leslie bailey, Jerome Preston, Anthony Pack, James Hargrove and Karl Borden.

“A total team effort,” is how Hopkins described the victory. “The biggest win since I’ve been here.” He’s been here three years, and there is no doubt about that.

It was one of the five best wins in decades.