Pick 'em: Virginia Tech vs. East Carolina
At this point, after watching Virginia Tech fall to a division I-AA opponent at home, I thought it was nearly impossible to be surprised by anything this week. But then I saw the line for Saturday's matchup between the Hokies and East Carolina at Lane Stadium.
Coming off perhaps the most shocking loss in program history, Virginia Tech is a 19.5-point favorite as of Friday morning. Wow. I'm not saying the Hokies can't win, but I've got a feeling this game won't be decided until the fourth quarter.
East Carolina's new variation of the Air Raid offense, brought over from Texas Tech by new coach Ruffin McNeill, is averaging 50 points per game through two wins, albeit against opponents like Tulsa (where the Pirates needed that miraculous, fourth-quarter Hail Mary for the victory) and Memphis. As a result, the statistics are likely giving defensive coordinator Bud Foster a headache.
Running back Jonathan Williams is averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Multi-dimensional quarterback Dominique Davis, a Boston College transfer, already has 11 total touchdowns (eight passing, three rushing) and his passer efficiency rating is 156.6. Wide receiver Dwayne Harris has 13 catches and is on pace for more than 1,000 receiving yards this year.
The flip side, though, is that the Pirates' defense has not been particularly stout. They currently rank 110th nationally in total defense and are giving up an average of 496 yards through two games.
Combine that with the home crowd at Lane Stadium and I'm picking Virginia Tech in this one, although the Hokies may need to put up 35-plus points to do it. I expect quarterback Tyrod Taylor and running back Ryan Williams to finally bust loose for big days, while the Virginia Tech defense will slow down East Carolina's attack just enough to give the Hokies a much-needed first victory.
My Prediction: Virginia Tech 38, East Carolina 30
But who cares what I think? What about you? Will I finally get to witness my first Virginia Tech victory as the Hokies beat writer? Remember, kickoff is set for 1:30, and for the second-straight week, the game will be streamed live on ESPN3.
September 17, 2010; 10:19 AM ET
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Posted by: JEGman | September 18, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse