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Pregame Notes

UPDATED | 1:35 p.m. Demetrius Taylor is listed as a starter at defensive tackle. John Graves, who has a sprained his right ankle, is a backup with Kwamaine Battle.

Charley Wiles, the Hokies' defensive line coach, said he expected that Graves would be available to play. Graves sprained his ankle in a 16-15 win over Nebraska last Saturday.

The defensive tackles will be critical in stopping the run Saturday against Miami's dangerous offense.

The Hokies have struggled to stop the rush, which has historically been their defensive strength. Virginia Tech is tied for 107th nationally against the run, allowing 200.33 yards per game. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster said this week that he was "embarrassed" by the Hokies' performances.

Also in lineup news, Stephan Virgil, who missed the past two games with knee injury, is listed as a starter at field cornerback. Rashad Carmichael is at boundary cornerback.

The No. 9 Hurricanes (2-0, 2-0 ACC) take on No. 11 Virginia Tech (2-1) at Lane Stadium.

Here are some other pregame notes:

-- Virginia Tech and Miami are rivals (at least in Blacksburg) with a history that dates to their days in the Big East. There are other interesting but not as direct connections.

In particular, some Hokies players grew up big Miami fans. Free safety Kam Chancellor’s favorite player was Sean Taylor, the former Hurricanes’ and Washington Redskins’ safety who was fatally shot in 2007. And running back Ryan Williams said this week that he grew up loving Miami.

Williams said he was an especially big fan of the Hurricanes running backs. While Williams was growing up, Miami had a string of talented running backs that included Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee and Frank Gore.

“I love they way they played, the swag, the colors,” Williams said. “I was a big Miami fan growing up.”

-- In 2003, Virginia Tech defeated No. 2 Miami, 31-7, in Blacksburg. It was the highest ranked opponent the Hokies have ever defeated.

-- Virginia Tech has won nine of the last 14 meetings in this series, which dates back to 1953.

-- Virginia Tech has struggled offensively. Part of the problem is its inability to convert on third downs. The Hokies have converted 34 percent (14 of 41) of their third down attempts. Their opponents have converted 33 percent (17 of 51) of their third down attempts.

-- With a No. 9 ranking, Miami is ranked in the top 10 for the first time since the final regular season poll of the 2005 season.

-- The Hurricanes team consists of 53 freshman and sophomores and only 38 juniors and seniors.

By Mark Viera  |  September 26, 2009; 1:21 PM ET
 
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