3:00 PM ET, August 31, 2003
Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Bryan Randall gave Marcus Vick a tension-free stage for his Virginia Tech debut, but the Hokies (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) had plenty to worry about before they got it together and beat Central Florida 49-28 Sunday. Randall directed three touchdown drives in as many tries before yielding for a second-quarter series to Michael Vick's younger brother. When Vick led the team 80 yards, it was 28-0 and looking really easy. But then the Golden Knights (0-1), using an effective mix of Ryan Schneider's passing, Alex Haynes' running and a 56-yard trick play, closed within 28-21 before two Hokies touchdowns 39 seconds apart put it away. The clinching score came with 11:32 left when Schneider threw to avoid a blitzing Vegas Robinson, and defensive tackle Jason Lallis picked it off over the middle. He then rambled 45 yards to give the Hokies a 42-21 lead. Earlier, the Hokies (1-0) looked unstoppable. Kevin Jones capped the opening drive with a 2-yard scoring run and Randall threw touchdown passes of 21 yards to Richard Johnson and 7 yards to Justin Hamilton, the first career touchdown reception for each. By the time Vick trotted onto the field to a rousing welcome from the largest crowd in Hokies history, 65,115, Randall was 12-for-14 for 169 yards. He'd thrown one pass away and Virginia Tech was leading 21-0. Vick rolled right and hit tight end Keith Willis for 14 yards on his first play, hit Ernest Wilford for 14 more on his third play and rolled right and hit Hamilton for 18 more to set up Jones' 18-yard scoring run. Vick finished 3-for-4 on the drive, overthrowing DeAngelo Hall in the end zone. Brother Mike went three-and-out on his first career series against James Madison in 1999, but the Hokies won that one 47-0. Randall finished 22-for-28 for 278 yards, adding a 29-yard scoring pass to Hall, who caught two passes for 41 yards in his first game adding spot duty as a wide receiver to his cornerback and return jobs. Hall's TD came on the Hokies' first drive after the Golden Knights made it 28-21, and was followed quickly by Lallis' interception return. Vick returned the next time the Hokies got the ball and led an 11-play, 80-yard drive capped by his first career touchdown pass, a 27-yard strike to freshman David Clowney as the crowd screamed its approval. UCF's third scoring drive included a 56-yard pass from wide receiver Brandon Marshall to Darcy Johnson that went to the Hokies 14 yard-line. Schneider, who has broken or taken aim at most of Daunte Culpepper's records at UCF, was 23-for-35 for 203 yards. He hit Tavaris Capers for touchdowns of 11 and 7 yards, and Johnson for one of 11 yards. It was Schneider's 22nd consecutive game with a scoring pass.