- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 26, 2002

BLACKSBURG, Va. Willie Pile and Lee Suggs remember that day in 1998 like they might also recall a root canal without anesthesia.
Virginia Tech was 5-0, ranked No.23 and rolling to another victory when Temple got a 67-yard touchdown play just before halftime. The play proved the impetus for the Owls' 28-24 shocker against the Hokies.
"As soon as I went back to the dorm, I put the covers over my head and didn't answer the phone," Pile, a senior safety, said this week. "I couldn't watch SportsCenter. I couldn't watch anything because those guys were smiling and dancing on our field. It didn't feel good at all."
Suggs also watched the upset unfold from the sideline.
"Everybody was in shock," he said.
The third-ranked Hokies (7-0, 2-0 Big East) are unbeaten again with the Owls coming to town, and Pile and Suggs are leaders of a team that is positioning itself for a national championship run if it keeps winning.
Getting up for the Owls (3-4, 1-1), then, won't be a problem for the veterans, but coach Frank Beamer had some thoughts on that this week.
"This is a serious football team coming in here Saturday," he said.
Pile also shared a message with the younger players, many of whom probably can't fathom that Temple could present a threat.
"I say, 'You know what? This could be the game of your life,'" Pile said. "'The next game is the only game you have to play.'"
Temple comes in having won two straight, beginning with a 17-16 victory against Syracuse. The Owls beat Connecticut 38-24 last week, getting 223 rushing yards and a touchdown from tailback Tanardo Sharps.
The Hokies have the nation's No.1 rushing defense, allowing just 49 yards a game, but coach Bobby Wallace said Sharps will be a key. Sharps has rushed for an average of 125 yards. He's also caught 19 passes.
"You can't go into a game against them and look at the stats and say you can't run the football," Wallace said. "We won't be able to drop back every time and throw, so we've got to run."
Temple quarterback Mike McCann has thrown for about 157 yards a game but has been intercepted 11 times while throwing eight TD passes.
The Owls also have to find a way to stop the Virginia Tech running game or at least slow it down. In Suggs and Kevin Jones, the Hokies have "probably the best two backs I've ever seen on the same team," Wallace said.
Suggs averages 112 yards a game and has scored 11 touchdowns, Jones averages 90 yards and has run for eight scores and the Hokies average 255 yards on the ground and have scored 22 of their 32 touchdowns that way.

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