Meet the Hokies

No. 17 Virginia Tech (6-2, 3-1 ACC) is the last ranked team North Carolina (4-4, 3-2) will have to play in the 2004 regular season. The Hokies are currently atop the conference standings in a three-way tie with Miami and Virgina – two teams which remain on their schedule.

UNC might have had the opportunity to catch VPI looking ahead this week, but that chance was lost following the Tar Heels' 31-28 upset shocker of then fourth-ranked Miami on Saturday.

Both teams have postseason bowl aspirations, with Carolina needing to win two of its last three games to qualify for an invite. The Hokies, although they have six wins, need one more to clinch bowl-eligible status, because it played a preseason game against Southern Cal.

Twenty-four-year coaching veteran Frank Beamer has led the Hokies to 11-straight bowl appearances. He currently ranks fourth in all-time wins among active coaches with 173, behind Bobby Bowden (348), Joe Paterno (341) and Lou Holtz (248).

Adding a little extra spice to the contest, Beamer once turned down a job offer from Carolina, ultimately paving the way for the hire of John Bunting. Some contend Beamer never had any real intention of coaching the Tar Heels, but went through the interview process in order to secure a more lucrative compensation package from Virginia Tech.

VPI holds a 12-9-6 lead in the series which dates back to 1895, with 19 of the 27 contests having been played on neutral sites. In their last meeting Carolina won, 42-3, in Jacksonville, Fla. to claim the Gator Bowl championship following the 1997 season. Five of the games have ended in 0-0 ties, and the Hokies are 2-2-2 in Chapel Hill, but the match-up before – a 14-14 tie at Kenan Stadium – took place in 1946.

Traditionally, Tech fans have traveled well, helping their Hokies to a 39-17 road record over the last 11 years.


Durable, dual-threat Bryan Randall (#3, 6-0, 228, Sr.), who has started the last 33 games, has thrown for 1,380 yards and 13 touchdowns this season, including a 304-yard, three-touchdown outing last week to lead the Hokies' 34-20 comeback win over Georgia Tech. He also has 350 rushing yards this year and is ranked third in the league behind Brock Berlin and Marques Hagans for total offense. Randall, who also plays basketball at Virginia Tech, hit the game winning jumper with 22 seconds remaining to defeat St. John's last February. He will graduate in three years, and has earned an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship from the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. Backup Sean Glennon (#7, 6-3, 200, Fr.), who threw 67 touchdown passes with only 11 interceptions in his high school career, has thrown for 137 yards and two touchdowns in limited duty this year.

Running Backs

The running game has been bolstered by the return of Mike Imoh (#20, 5-7, 197, Jr.), who was suspended for the first three games of the season. His diminutive size allows him to hide behind bigger offensive linemen. Imoh finished ranked third in the nation last season with 30.5 yards per kickoff return. In his five games back, he has rushed for a team-high 408 yards on 103 carries. Justin Hamilton (#27, 6-3, 222, Jr.) has 257 yards on 56 attempts, scoring his first collegiate rushing touchdown in the win over Western Michigan. Cedric Humes (#32, 6-1, 231, Jr.) leads the team with four rushing touchdowns to go with a 4.7 yards per carry average. Fullback John Kinzer (#3, 6-0, 228, Sr.), who has yet to carry the ball, has caught eight passes and scored twice.

Wide Receivers

Youth has been served in the form of the two starters, split end Josh Hyman (#19, 5-11, 189, Fr.*) and flanker Eddie Royal (#4, 5-10, 172, Fr.). Royal, the 2003 Virgin iahigh school player of the year, has made a rapid ascent up the depth chart. He leads the team with 18 catches for 284 yards. Royal turned in the play of the game against the Yellow Jackets – an 80-yard touchdown reception. Hyman – a 21-year-old redshirt frosh – is second on the team with 16 catches for 287 yards and three touchdowns. Josh Morgan (#17, 6-1, 209, Fr.), another rookie, has eight receptions for 187 yards. Young speedster David Clowney (#87, 6-1, 171, So.) ran track last year.

Tight Ends

Look for Randall to throw to a tight end in tough situations, as 17-of-24 completions to the trio of Jeff King (#90, 6-5, 263, Jr.), Jared Mazzetta (#85, 6-4, 265, Sr.) and Duane Brown (#89, 6-5, 272, Fr.*), have resulted in first-down yardage. King had a career-high four catches for 65 yards in the season opener versus the top-ranked Trojans. Mazzetta, who has seven receptions for 94 yards, caught a big 21-yard catch on third down in the win over Georgia Tech. Brown caught his first career pass for a 33-yard touchdown.

Offensive Line

A big reason why the Hokies can utilize their tight ends so effectively in the passing game is this gigantic unit - a mix of youth and experience - led by returning starters at tackle Jimmy Martin (#52, 6-5, 299, Jr.) and Jon Dunn (#79, 6-7, 331, Sr.). Dunn has graded out at 82 percent this season with 23 pancake blocks, while Martin is coming off a career performance against the Yellow Jackets, 95 percent efficiency on 65 plays. Reggie Butler (#61, 6-6, 334, Jr.) provides depth at tackle, and is listed as a co-starter with Jason Murphy (#72, 6-5, 305, Jr.) at left guard. Right guard James Miller (#76, 6-6, 312, Sr.) has started all eight games, playing on 479 snaps. Will Montgomery (#66, 6-3, 300, Jr.), took over this season for All-American center Jake Grove, now with the Oakland Raiders.

Defensive Line

The D-line is anchored by tackles Jonathan Lewis (#56, 6-1, 289, Jr.) and Jim Davis (#95, 6-3, 265, Sr.). Davis, who has 16.5 career sacks, is back for his final season after missing 2003 with a torn pectoral muscle he injured while playing golf. Lewis, who has recorded 6.5 tackles for loss, had two sacks versus Wake Forest. End Noland Burchette (#96, 6-2, 251, So.) has 17 stops, 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack to his credit this season. The other starter at end, Darryl Tapp (#55, 6-1, 265, Jr.), has been the most effective statistically with 43 tackles – 10.5 for loss – and 5.5 sacks.


With the early season injury to Xavier Adibi (#11, 6-2, 222, Fr.*), linebackers coach Bud Foster was forced to make some changes. Now with Adibi back, the Hokies have shifted to primarily a three-man rotation. And with Mikal Baaqee (#45, 5-10, 224, Sr.) able to man both inside and outside positions, look for all three combinations to be used. Vince Hall (#9, 6-0, 240, Fr.*) is third on the team in tackles with 40.

Defensive Backs

Three seniors and one junior make up a veteran corps in the secondary, led by cornerback Vincent Fuller (#8, 6-1, 187, Sr.), who scored on a 74-yard return of a blocked field goal against Western Michigan. The other starting corner is Eric Green (#1, 6-0, 198, Sr.), who ran two touchdowns back for touchdowns last season. Free safety Jimmy Williams (#2, 6-3, 219, Jr.) has a mix of size and speed that also makes him available at corner as well. Roverback James Griffin (#22, 6-1, 193, Sr.), leads all the backs with 34 tackles, including seven in the loss to N.C. State.

Special Teams

Royal (13.5 yards per return) handles the punts, while Imoh is the kick returner. Imoh has a 42-yard return this season and Royal has a 58-yarder, but neither has found the end zone thus far. Punter Vinnie Burns (#38, 5-11, 194, So.), a two-time finalist for the Ray Guy Award, is averaging 41.9 yards per kick with seven inside the 20. Kicker Brandon Pace (#46, 5-10, 191, So.), a former walk-on, has made 15-of-19 field goal attempts and all 28 of his point after touchdown tries.

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