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21
Final 1234Score
Central Mich7001421
Virginia Tech71771445
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45


Central Michigan (2-3) at Virginia Tech (3-2)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 9th, 12:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Lane Stadium/Worsham Field (65,115) -- Blacksburg, Virginia. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: CMU 1-1, VaTech 1-1. Away Record: CMU 1-2, VaTech 2-0. Neutral Record: CMU 0-0, VaTech 0-1. Conference Record: CMU 1-2, VaTech 2-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The Virginia Tech Hokies of the ACC welcome the Central Michigan Chippewas of the Mid-American Conference to Blacksburg on Saturday afternoon.

Central Michigan has lost its last two outings to fall to 2-3 on the season. The slow start is not what head coach Dan Enos envisioned for his first year at the helm. Last weekend, the home crowd looked on in disappointment as the Chippewas fell to Ball State in a 31-17 final.

As for Virginia Tech, it climbed back from a 17-point deficit to beat NC State last weekend, 41-30, in what was the biggest comeback of the Frank Beamer era. After an 0-2 start to the campaign, the Hokies have won three straight to move to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in ACC action. Saturday's tilt marks the first of what will be four consecutive home games for Tech.

This game marks the first-ever meeting between Central Michigan and Virginia Tech on the gridiron.

Through five outings, Central Michigan is generating 27.4 ppg and 417.2 total ypg. Clearly, the bread and butter of the offense is the passing game, which is led by Ryan Radcliff. The signal-caller has connected on 62.3 percent of his passes for 1,437 yards and seven touchdowns, but his seven interceptions have certainly contributed to the losing record. Among the receivers, Cody Wilson is tops with 25 catches for 460 yards and three scores. Paris Cotton paces the backs with 386 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

In the loss to Ball State last time out, the Chippewas failed to establish the run, finishing with only 76 yards on 26 rushing attempts. Radcliff did throw for 295 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he threw three interceptions and was sacked six times. David Blackburn led the receivers in defeat with seven catches for 89 yards and a score.

Opponents are generating 17.6 ppg against Central Michigan, which is allowing 323.4 total ypg. Those numbers are actually pretty strong, especially when considering the fact that the Chippewas have committed 11 turnovers this season, many of which have put the defense is less than advantageous positions. Central Michigan has been solid against both the run and the pass, and Matt Berning leads the defense with 47 total tackles, including 7.5 TFLs.

The defense was gashed for 306 rushing yards by Ball State last week, the most obvious reason for the loss. The Cardinals only completed 12 passes in that tilt, but two of those went for touchdowns. While the Cardinals can take pride in the fact that only 2-of-12 third-down conversion attempts were successful for Ball State, the overall play of the defense was disappointing.

Heading into this season, Virginia Tech was expected to lean heavily on tailback Ryan Williams, a potential Heisman candidate. Unfortunately for Williams, a hamstring injury has caused him to miss two games thus far and renders his status for Saturday's battle rather questionable. Darren Evans is more than capable of making plays from the tailback position, however, as he has rushed for 324 yards and four scores thus far.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is another factor in the Tech ground attack, as he has rushed for 322 yards. As a passer, Taylor has connected on 61.6 percent of his throws for 869 yards and eight touchdowns with three interceptions. Jarrett Boykin tops three receivers with four touchdowns for the Hokies, who are generating 31.0 ppg and 381.4 total ypg.

In the comeback victory over NC State, Taylor threw for three touchdowns despite only 123 yards through the air. Evans was sensational in the running game, gashing the Wolfpack for 160 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries.

Opponents are scoring 22.2 ppg against Virginia Tech while gaining 347.2 total ypg. The Hokies have been decent against the run, but the pass defense clearly has some room for improvement. Tech has come up with 10 takeaways to date and is limiting foes to 36 percent success on third-down conversion attempts.

The Hokies can't be happy about the fact that they surrendered 507 total yards to NC State. Tech allowed 362 yards through the air on just 21 completions. Still, the fact that they team held the Wolfpack far below a 50 percent completion rating and came up with three interceptions certainly contributed to the win.

Even if Williams can't play this weekend, Virginia Tech will get the job done. The Hokies will start strong against Central Michigan and never look back.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Tech 45, Central Michigan 13

10/06 10:40:41 ET