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'Things can only get better from here'

Tech fans in Blacksburg proud of run to the Sugar Bowl

Click here for more on this story

Posted: Wednesday January 05, 2000 01:32 AM

  Despite coming up a little short in the Sugar Bowl, Virginia Tech fans couldn't be more proud of their Hokies. AP

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- The mood of hundreds of Virginia Tech fans, many clad in the school's maroon-and-orange colors, turned from festive to somber Tuesday night as the Hokies lost 46-29 to Florida State in the Sugar Bowl.

Despite losing the national title game, the Hokies made their supporters proud.

"I think that Virginia Tech gave it a championship effort," Glenn Hamlin, 37, of Blacksburg, said at Poor Billy's, a downtown Blacksburg bar and grill. "Just a few plays here or there, and the game could have gone Virginia Tech's way."

"I'm disappointed but happy they made it that far," said Patrick Cosgriff, 21, of Blacksburg. "Michael Vick is only a freshman, and he did a very good job. He has some time to improve and get things done."

Many fans said they were confident that Tech would be a national contender again.

"This year, we got things rolling and showed what Virginia Tech can do," said Chad Martin, 21, a Tech junior. "Things can only get better from here."

"If nothing else, we brought a lot of attention to Blacksburg. ... We played well. It wasn't a blowout like everybody expected," said Dan Whaling, 24, of Blacksburg. "No matter what, we're going to cheer them on."

Leading up to the game, the mood was more upbeat.

"If you can't be in New Orleans, this is the place to be," said Scott Shearer, part owner and manager of Gobbler Town, a popular nightspot in nearby Christiansburg. Shearer added several Cajun dishes to the menu Tuesday night.

The atmosphere was much like a game at Lane Stadium, with fans cheering and even doing the wave. Outside, the parking lot was packed, and dozens of Tech flags attached to car and truck antennas fluttered in the stiff wind.

Some fans who couldn't make the trip to New Orleans arrived before dark to get a good table near one of the business' 17 television sets.

"We've been partying all day, getting pumped up for this," said Blane Bush, 29, of Blacksburg. "The regular holidays were nothing. This is what we've been getting ready for."

In Blacksburg, Tech's campus was almost deserted, since the school is still on break for the Christmas and New Year's holidays. But yard signs and posters were scattered throughout the town supporting the Hokies.

Lee Terry, headed into Big Al's restaurant downtown just off the campus, said he wouldn't miss the game for the world.

"I've been waiting to see something like this for a long time," said Terry. "If -- pardon me -- I mean when Tech wins, Blacksburg is going to burn down."


 
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