Virginia Tech put it all together in rout of Syracuse

Updated: October 12, 2003, 5:37 PM ET

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Handing out accolades after his team's best performance of the season, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer had high praise for everyone, especially his dominant defense.

"We've played a lot of good defense over the years," Beamer said after the Hokies held Syracuse to 172 yards and a 19-yard touchdown drive in a 51-7 victory Saturday. "That was good stuff there today."

It was easily Virginia Tech's best performance of the season, and one for which the seeds had been planted a year ago in upstate New York.

"The whole week of practice, it was just a different attitude out there," cornerback DeAngelo Hall said.

Hall and his teammates were bent on showing that the defense the Orangemen rolled up 604 yards against last season was not representative of Virginia Tech.

Hall and linebacker Vegas Robinson were among the regulars who sat out the triple-overtime, 50-42 loss. On Saturday, the only touchdown drive the Hokies allowed was set up by a Virginia Tech fumble at its own 19.

With the Orangemen the first of a string of four games against teams it lost to last season, No. 3 Virginia Tech was more than prepared.

"I didn't have to do a whole lot this week," defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. "All I had to do was show them the tape" of last year.

The defense also held national rushing leader Walter Reyes to 40 yards, 130 below his average, and got lots of help from elsewhere.

Hall returned two punts for touchdowns and the special teams also registered the 100th kick block of Beamer's 17 seasons as coach, swatting away a 40-yard field goal try on Syracuse's only other scoring chance.

And the offense got 131 yards and two touchdowns in 19 carries from Kevin Jones, a 75-yard scoring run from quarterback Bryan Randall, a 24-yard touchdown run from Hall and three field goals from Carter Warley.

Randall's run came on the Hokies' third play when Syracuse knew what to look for, thought it was ready and saw momentum shift in an instant.

"Everything kind of picks up for them," Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "That initial touchdown really helped. Their best players are making big plays in a big game and that gets the whole deal going."

The Hokies (6-0, 2-0 Big East) hope it's just the start. They play West Virginia next Wednesday night in Morgantown, W.Va., return home to face No. 2 Miami on Nov. 1 and then visit Pittsburgh the next week.

All three teams, like Syracuse, beat the Hokies last year, turning an 8-0 start and championship hopes into an explosion of disappointment.

This year, the Hokies have vowed not to let it happen again.

"I don't think we made a statement," Hall said after the rout. "That's just another team. We're just taking it one game at a time."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index