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No. 15 Virginia Tech 21, Akron 18

September 8, 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.″

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