No. 15 Virginia Tech 21, Akron 18
Sep. 08, 1996
AKRON, Ohio (AP) _ With starting tailback Ken Oxendine sidelined with a separated shoulder, freshman Shyrone Stith got his big chance for 15th-ranked Virginia Tech. The result was an end to Akron's dream of an upset.
Stith ran for 119 yards and two short touchdowns as Virginia Tech beat Akron 21-18 Saturday night. Virginia Tech had spotted the Zips an 8-0 lead.
``It was a wonderful lesson on life for the team,'' said Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer. ``They hung together as a football team. Stith had a good run, but he's too young to be playing. Akron's defense played hard and played well. Virginia Tech's defense had its moments.''
With Akron leading 8-0, Stith capped an 11-play, 61-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run with 22 seconds to play in the first half. Jim Druckenmiller's pass to Angelo Harrison for the 2-point conversion tied the game.
Stith also scored on a 2-yard run with 1:38 left in the third quarter.
Akron (0-2) went ahead 11-8 with 10:53 to play in the third quarter on Jamie Stidham's 31-yard field goal to cap a 10-play, 46-yard drive.
Akron's Mike Junko threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Carl Whitt with 14 seconds remainigng.
The Zips scored first on Tyrone Ryan's 1-yard run in the first quarter. Stidham's kick was blocked.
Akron also scored on a safety in the first period when Tech's Walter Ford fielded a punt in the end zone and was tackled.
``Give Akron credit,'' Beamer said. ``We had terrible foulups, but don't take anything away from Akron.''
Akron's Mike Hayes had nine punts, averaging 46.3 yards.
Ford mishandled two punts in the first quarter.
``Walter Ford misjudged the punts and panicked,'' Beamer said. ``Also, you can't take anything away from Akron, because their kicker was a boomer.
``We had too many new guys, but they will be old kids next week.''
Druckenmiller threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Michael Stuewe with 7:40 to play in the third quarter to put Virginia Tech (1-0) ahead for good at 15-11.
Druckenmiller completed 11 of 22 passes for 81 yards without an interception.
Oxendine carried the ball 11 times for 65 yards before leaving in the second quarter with a separated shoulder.
Virginia Tech outrushed Akron 216-30, but the Zips dominated the passing game 197-81. Junko completed 14 of 26 passes for 159 yards without an interception, and Willie Spencer was 4-for-12 for 38 yards without an interception.
``We're disappointed in the loss,'' said Akron coach Lee Owens. ``We thought we had opportunities to win the game. We've still got to get over the hump and realize that it's not by accident that we were in a position to win the game.''