Virginia Tech (1-1) at East Carolina (2-0)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 14, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (50,000) -- Greenville, North
Carolina. Television: Fox Sports 1. Home Record: VT 1-0, ECU 2-0. Away Record:
VT 0-0, ECU 0-0. Neutral Record: VT 0-1, ECU 0-0. Conference Record: VT 0-0,
ECU 1-0. Series Record: Virginia Tech leads, 12-5.
GAME NOTES: The East Carolina Pirates will try to stay perfect as they host
the Virginia Tech Hokies for a non-conference matchup at Dowdy-Ficklen
Virginia Tech bounced back from a lopsided week one loss to defending national
champion Alabama, with a 45-3 rout of Western Carolina last week. The Hokies
had won 10 or more games in eight consecutive seasons before their 7-6 overall
finish to 2012. Virginia Tech is 20-6 under Beamer in games played in the
state of North Carolina.
This will be the 18th meeting in history between these schools. The Hokies
hold a 12-5 all-time series lead including their 5-2 mark at Dowdy-Ficklen
Stadium. Five of the seven games in ECU's stadium have been decided by seven
points or less.
Ruffin McNeill's Pirates coasted to a 31-13 decision in their C-USA opener
last week. This will be the final segment of their three-game homestand to
begin the 2013 slate. ECU went 8-5 a year ago and has won four of its last
five games, though it fell, 43-34, to Louisiana in the New Orleans Bowl. It
was picked to win the C-USA East Division by the league's 14 head coaches in
the preseason poll.
ECU has yet to face an opponent as strong as Tech or a quarterback as talented
as Logan Thomas. The Hokies racked up 462 yards of total offense in their
victory over the Catamounts with Thomas accounting for 200 yards on 17-of-31
passing. The 6-foot-6 senior signal caller led the Hokies with a school record
of 3,500 yards of total offense last season and became the first quarterback
to lead the team in rushing since 1965.
Thomas has not posted great numbers thus far. He has completed only 38.6
percent of his passes for 259 yards with one touchdown to three interceptions,
but those numbers should improve as he plays more defenses not coached by Nick
Saban. The trip to Greenville could provide a milestone moment for Thomas, who
needs just 18 more pass attempts to more in front of Will Furrer's school
record of 920.
None of the Hokies wideouts have established themselves as the number one
option so far. Joshua Stanford is the leading receiver with only five catches.
Freshman tight end Kalvin Cline made four receptions for 46 yards in his
collegiate debut against WCU.
The Hokies have a very reliable ball carrier in redshirt freshman Trey
Edmunds, who has already amassed 200 yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries.
Edmunds, Chris Mangus and Joel Caleb combined for 188 of Virginia Tech's 237
rushing yards and accounted for four touchdowns last week. Edmunds scored his
first career touchdown on a 77-yard run against Alabama. Mangus ripped off a
75-yard touchdown run against WCU.
Virginia Tech ranked 18th among FBS teams in total defense last season and is
once again one of the best in the nation at stopping its opponent. The Hokies
have allowed 217 yards or less of total offense in four consecutive games.
They currently rank third in the nation in pass efficiency defense (80.5).
Senior linebacker Jack Tyler tied for fourth in the ACC in total tackles last
season with 119. He already has 19 to go along with two tackles for loss and a
sack in 2013.
Even the Hokies' top-notch pass defense will have trouble against the duo of
Shane Carden and Justin Hardy. Carden opened up the season with a record-
setting performance versus ODU, completing 46 passes for 447 yards and five
touchdowns. The junior quarterback followed up with a strong showing against
FAU as he completed 17-of-25 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. He found
eight different receivers for at least one reception in the victory over the
Hardy enters Saturday having made at least three catches in each of his first
25 career games. The speedy junior wideout made his 18th career touchdown
reception last week against FAU. Hardy has tallied 227 yards on 20 catches
through two games. Danny Webster is also a factor in the passing game and
ranks second on ECU with 83 yards on nine receptions.
Senior tailback Vintavious Cooper surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in 2012, but
he has been less effective this season with only 133 yards on 32 carries.
The Pirates have played two weak offensive teams this season. However, they
have only been able to average 25.5 yards of total offense more per game. ECU
came up with three turnovers, two interceptions and a fumble recovery, in the
win over FAU. Junior linebacker Brandon Williams made a strong impression last
week with eight solo tackles, two stops for loss and a forced fumble. Senior
defensive end Lee Pegues registered his first three sacks of the season in the
The Pirates are not going to be a cakewalk for Virginia Tech. Carden has
developed into a solid field general capable of spearheading a rally effort.
Thomas will need to limit his turnovers to take pressure off of his defense or
ECU could send the Hokies back below the .500 mark.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Tech 31, East Carolina 28
09/11 10:33:26 ET