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Hasselbeck Aims To Beat Virginia Tech, Not Vick




Sept. 28, 2000

By HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer

BOSTON - Tim Hasselbeck knows the excitement Saturday's game against fourth-ranked Virginia Tech will generate. The Boston College quarterback has felt it himself.

"When you're a little kid and you watch college football you dream about playing some day in games like this. This is the game that all those 12 year-old kids are watching," he said. "Most of them will want to be Michael Vick."

Hasselbeck is happy to be himself.

In his last game, he threw for a career-high 355 yards. He leads one of the Big East's most powerful offenses. Putting the Eagles in the national spotlight by knocking off Virginia Tech is more important to him than putting up better numbers than Vick, the Hokies' quarterback and a top Heisman Trophy contender.

How big would it be if Boston College (2-1) beats Virginia Tech (3-0)?

"It would be big enough so the goal posts would come down," Hasselbeck said. "I don't know if the game can get any bigger for us."

Lose and the Eagles drop to 0-2 in the conference. Win and they could crack the Top 25. Hasselbeck's passing efficiency rating of 155.28 is sixth in the nation. He has completed 48 of 74 passes for 730 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions.

"He makes good decisions and he's smart," Virginia Tech linebacker Nick Sorensen said. "He's very streaky, too. When he's hot, he's very good and their offense feeds off of that."

Vick has completed 26 of 44 passes for 412 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He has also rushed for more than 100 yards in two of his three games - a skill Hasselbeck lacks - before the Hokies had last Saturday off.

He also took the day off two years ago when Virginia Tech visited Boston College. He was a redshirt freshman and didn't play in the Hokies' 17-0 win.

"I've never played there before," Vick said. "I take it as a challenge."

Last season at Virginia Tech, the Eagles lost 38-14 in their 11th game as Hasselbeck went just 6-for-19 for 138 yards. And 97 of those yards came on a touchdown pass to Dedrick Dewalt.

Dewalt is an even bigger threat now. He has caught 11 passes, but four have been for touchdowns and his average reception has covered 23.7 yards. Hasselbeck also has come a long way since his first season when he threw just 12 passes in six games in 1998.

"My first game, I think the coaches were just praying that I was going to get the snap from the center," he said. "I think I've made big strides but I would say that so much of that is due to having a great offensive coordinator, Dana Bible, and having guys around me that really take coaching well."

Boston College also has a big offensive line and an outstanding running back in Cedric Washington.

"I think they're going to try and hammer us," Hokies coach Frank Beamer said.

Hasselbeck agrees that the game is not a battle between him and Vick.

"I'm not trying to have better stats than him," Hasselbeck said. "If he was the quarterback at Toledo, I wonder if anyone would really care that I was going up against him. No offense to Toledo. We're not on their schedule, so I knew I could say that."

Still, Hasselbeck's not oblivious to the comparisons, especially because he and Vick play a position that gets so much attention. He's just not obsessed by them

"Each Saturday when I go out and play a game, I want to be the best quarterback on the field," he said, "and I'm sure Michael Vick does, too."

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