Go Tech Go, Part 33: A Tough Stretch in 1991

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In over a century of playing football, Virginia Tech rarely had faced as daunting a string of games as it faced in 1991. From September 7 to October 12, the Hokies played five consecutive road games against teams that were either ranked No. 6 or higher, or were rivals with big budgets.

After a tough loss at North Carolina State and a bye week, Virginia Tech traveled to Columbia, South Carolina, as two-point favorites over the Gamecocks. Although the Hokies trailed 28-21 with less than a minute to play, they thought they had tied the game when quarterback Will Furrer hit wide receiver Bo Campbell for an apparent touchdown with 26 seconds left. But (again) a self-inflicted error reared its ugly head. Because they were out of timeouts, they were in a no-huddle offense; Furrer barked out a call to change the formation, but there was confusion among the wide receivers, and one of them didn’t move up to his assigned spot on the line of scrimmage. Officials flagged the Hokies for an illegal formation, negating the touchdown. On the next play, Furrer was hit as he threw; the ball fluttered, and Gamecock cornerback Jerry Inman intercepted it to seal the victory.

At No. 6 Oklahoma, it was more of the same: Virginia Tech fumbled after a completed pass, giving the Sooners the ball at the Hokie 36-yard line, setting up OU’s first touchdown. Later, a tipped Furrer pass was intercepted and returned 33 yards for another score. In all, Oklahoma intercepted Furrer three times on the day. At one point in the game, Tech turned the ball over on consecutive plays. Still, the Hokies fought hard. Although the Sooners had been favored by 18, the Hokies lost 27-17.

You Just Can’t Steer Burnop Wrong

The night before the Oklahoma game, the broadcast team of Bill Roth and Mike Burnop, team surgeon Dr. Marc Siegel, and the Hokie Huddler editor (me) drove to a steakhouse in nearby Oklahoma City called Cattlemen’s. It was an unpretentious, low-slung place that served beer in glass mugs in the shape of cowboy boots. The food was good, reasonably priced, and there was plenty of it, which suited Burnop—a man who is to buffets what Joey Chestnut is to hot dogs. We found a corner booth with murals on the walls of cowpokes herding cattle. In the