Bowling Green (1-2) at Virginia Tech (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 22, 12:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lane Stadium (65,632) -- Blacksburg, Virginia. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Bowling Green 1-0, Virginia Tech 2-0. Away Record: Bowling Green 0-2, Virginia Tech 0-1. Neutral Record: Bowling Green 0-0, Virginia Tech 0-0. Conference Record: Bowling Green 0-1, Virginia Tech 1-0. Series Record: Virginia Tech leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Virginia Tech Hokies look to get back on track Saturday afternoon when they host the Bowling Green Falcons in a non-conference tilt at Lane Stadium.
Virginia Tech is coming off a 35-17 setback at Pittsburgh over the weekend, as the Hokies fell behind early in that contest and were never able to recover. The loss dropped the Hokies from No. 13 out of the national rankings. It also snapped their school-record 13-game road winning streak.
Meanwhile, Bowling Green is coming off a 27-15 loss to arch-rival Toledo in its MAC opener. The Falcons have dropped both of their road contests so far this season, although they hung tough with 14th-ranked Florida in a season- opening 27-14 loss. Following this tilt, the Falcons will host Rhode Island for homecoming next week in their final non-conference tuneup.
Virginia Tech has won both prior meetings in the all-time series against Bowling Green, although this marks the first meeting between the two since 1993.
The Falcons have had some trouble putting points on the board, as they rank 112th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 16.7 points per game. This past Saturday against Toledo was no different, as they managed just three points by halftime. The team's first six possessions resulted in four punts, an interception and a missed field goal. Bowling Green's offense was able to get going a bit in the second half, but it was too little, too late. Quarterback Matt Schilz was an efficient 24-of-36, although he didn't take many shots downfield and finished with only 216 yards to go along with an interception. Anthon Samuel led the ground game with 112 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
The Falcon defense was solid against the run against Toledo, but defending the pass was a whole different story. While they did hold the Rockets to a collective 3.3 yards per carry, running back David Fluellen managed a pair of rushing TDs. Against the pass, Bowling Green allowed 21-of-29 completions for 322 yards and a score. Toledo was able to sustain drives by converting 7-of-14 third downs. Cameron Truss and Dwayne Woods shared the team lead with 10 tackles apiece in the loss. Truss paces the squad with 23 tackles through three games, while Chris Jones has notched 3.5 sacks and 6.0 tackles for loss.
Outside of a 42-7 outburst against FCS school Austin Peay two weekends ago, Virginia Tech's offense has been spotty at best. Against Pitt, the Hokies committed four first-half turnovers, which ultimately led to their demise. Logan Thomas was picked off three times in the opening half, and a Michael Holmes fumble led to a Panthers' touchdown in the second quarter. In all, Tech's offense totaled only 159 yards in the game's first 30 minutes. Holmes has not found much running room early in the season, as he is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. Look for head coach Frank Beamer and offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring to try and get Holmes going against Bowling Green.
The defense also started slowly on Saturday, yielding 305 yards of total offense in the first half. The Hokies failed to generate any turnovers in the first half and also notched just one sack. Stopping the run has been the biggest problem area on that side of the ball, as Virginia Tech ranks 100th in the nation in run defense (201.7 ypg). Pitt's Ray Graham and Rushel Shell combined for 251 rushing yards (5.3 ypc) and a pair of TDs on Saturday. All of those running lanes opened up the play-action game for quarterback Tino Sunseri, who carved up the Tech secondary for 283 yards and three TDs on 19- of-28 passing.
Three weeks into the season, and the Hokies have been hot and cold. If the Hokies are to vault back into the national rankings, they'll need to play much stronger against the run. They also must find a way to avoid slow starts. Look for both of those things to happen in this matchup against an overmatched Bowling Green squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Tech 38, Bowling Green 19
09/19 10:41:26 ET