- The Washington Times - Friday, December 3, 2004

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech’s Bryan Randall insists statistics alone don’t win football games — and he should know.

Last season Randall completed only one pass — to the other team — against then-No. 2 Miami, yet the Hokies thrashed the Hurricanes 31-7.

Two years ago as a sophomore, Randall threw for a Big East and school record 504 yards against Syracuse, but the Orange outlasted the Hokies 50-42 in triple overtime.

“The stats aren’t what’s important for me,” Randall said. “It’s winning the ballgame.”

Randall gladly would trade his records, including the school career passing mark of 6,061 yards he set last week in Virginia Tech’s 24-10 victory over Virginia, for a trip to the Sugar Bowl on Jan.3.

A win at ninth-ranked Miami (8-2, 5-2) today would give the Hokies the outright ACC championship and a BCS bid against Auburn in New Orleans. The Hokies (9-2, 6-1) can do no worse than tie for the conference championship and gain a Peach Bowl bid.

“Our first year in the ACC, we made a statement that hopefully we’re going to be a good team for the conference,” said Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer at this week’s press luncheon.

Randall, too, made a statement this year. After shouldering some of the blame for back-to-back 1-3 records in each of his first two Novembers as starting quarterback, Randall felt heat from backup Marcus Vick, who completed two more passes than Randall in last season’s upset of Miami, including a 46-yard touchdown.

Randall won the job by default this season when Vick, the brother of former Virginia Tech and current Atlanta Falcons quarterback Mike Vick, was suspended for this season by the university following summer legal troubles. After 11 games, Randall has thrown for 1,817 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushed for 432 yards and three touchdowns, placing him second to Miami’s Brock Berlin among ACC quarterbacks in total offense and fourth in efficiency with a 133.1 rating.

That, combined with Virginia Tech’s surprising season, makes Randall, the starting quarterback for 36 consecutive games, a candidate for ACC Player of the Year.

“It’s not something that before the start of the season I put up there as my goal,” said Randall, who spent his summer working with underprivileged children in Los Angeles through the faith-based organization Athletes in Action. “I feel like I played myself into contention for such an award, but as long as the team is successful, I’m happy.”

After the Hokies posted a 3-0 November as part of a seven-game winning streak, Beamer considers Randall’s leadership established.

“Bryan Randall has had a sensational year,” said Beamer. “When it’s toughest is when Bryan’s at his best.”

Randall looks at the Georgia Tech game as the turning point. With his team down 17-7 at the half, Randall led a 25-point rally — the Hokies’ biggest fourth quarter in 30 years.

The Williamsburg, Va., native stung the Yellow Jackets with a season-high 304 yards passing and three touchdowns. Two of the touchdown passes came in the final six minutes, an 80-yard bomb to Eddie Royal and a 51-yard strike to Josh Morgan.

“Definitely after that Georgia Tech game, I noticed this team was special,” said Randall, who finished his sociology degree in three years and is now enrolled in graduate classes.

“You know, as a quarterback, there’s going to be peaks and valleys,” he added. “It’s how you come back from the adversities that really makes you stand out as a quarterback.”

The 6-foot, 228-pound Randall is the same steady person off the field. He credits parents Edgar and Belinda with his character development.

“Growing up, I had a lot of things instilled in me morally and spiritually,” Randall said. “Be humble in everything you do. Treat others the way you want to be treated. It’s nothing too complicated.”

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