December 31, 2002
Air Force got off to a quick start in the inaugural Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl, but the Falcons fell a few yards short of Coach DeBerry's 150th win.
Two minutes into the game, Air Force took an early lead with a touchdown on a 15-yard rush by Matt Ward. Virginia Tech failed to respond on their first drive, gaining only 26 yards before the Falcons recovered a Suggs fumble and took over at Virginia Tech's 35. Ashcroft finished the drive with a field goal to bring the Falcons' to an early 10-0 lead over the Hokies.
On their next drive, Virginia Tech's Carter Warley narrowly missed his first field goal attempt from the 41, hitting the right upright and turning the ball back over to Air Force.
But Vegas Robinson picked up the slack for the Hokies. With 3:05 left in the quarter, Robinson intercepted a pass by Air Force quarterback Chance Harridge, leading to a 16 yard touchdown run by Lee Suggs on the drive and bringing the Hokies within three. That touchdown increased Suggs' NCAA record for scoring a touchdown in consecutive games to 27. After a hard fought second quarter and another Harridge interception, VT's Warley kicked a field goal to tie up the game at the half.
The Suggs/Jones tailback team struck again in the third with Suggs entering the Falcon house for the second time, this time on a 1-yard touchdown run with 4:55 left in the quarter.
Each team claimed three more points in the fourth on field goals. With the Virginia Tech up 20-13 and only a four minutes remaining, Air Force cranked up the pressure on the Hokie defense. The Falcons drove for 72 yards, advancing from their own 18 to the Virginia Tech 10. On third and goal with ten seconds left in the game, Harridge made a dash for the endzone, but Virginia Tech's Ronyell Whitaker forced a fumble before Harridge could cross the line, securing a Hokie victory in the inaugural Emerald Bowl.
Virginia Tech's quarterback Bryan Randall was named Outstanding Offensive Player of the Game. Randall was 18 for 23 with 177 yards.
The Outstanding Defensive Player of the Game Award went to Air Force's Anthony Schlegel. Schlegel had 7 solo tackles, 3 assists (10 tackle total) 1 forced fumble, 1 sac and accounted for a total of 11 yards lost ground.