WVU - Virginia Tech Game Preview

Mountaineers look for first Big East win for Rodriguez this Saturday

Series: WVU leads series 26-19-1

Virginia Tech is 3-2 at Mountaineer Field since the 1991 meeting with the average score being 20-16 in favor of the Hokies. The Hokies are 13-2 when playing on the road since 1998.

Tech players to watch:
Virginia Tech – QB Grant Noel, WR Andre Davis, RB Keith Burnell, RB Kevin Jones, KR Richard Johnson, S Billy Hardee, S Kevin McCadam, K Carter Warley, LB Ben Taylor, C Steve DeMasi.

WVU - Rasheed Marshall (Wrist) Out, Lance Frazier (Ankle) Probable, O'Randi Cox (Ankle) Out, Antwan Lake (Back) Questionable, Grant Wiley (Hamstring) Probable

Virginia Tech – Deon Provitt (Knee) Out, Lee Suggs (Knee) Out, Jake Houseright (Knee) Doubtful, Channing Reed (Leg) Questionable, RB Kevin Jones (Knee) Probable, Richard Johnson (Hamstring) Probable.

Game outlook:

Game Info
WVU 2-2, 0-1
Virginia Tech 4-0, 1-0
Sat. 10/6 12:00 p.m.
Moutaineer Field
Series: WVU 26-19-1
BCS: WVU-60 VT-12
Line: Hokies -16
Stats & Trends
WVU offense vs. Virginia Tech defense
Number One? That is what the Hokie defense is ranked nationally in points allowed (6.0/game), rushing yards allowed (41.0), passing efficiency defense and total yardage (175.8/game). Brad Lewis will not only have to "Spot the Ball", he will have to spot the oncoming rush and make quick decisions.

In order for WVU to win this game, Brad Lewis must get in a groove early in the game and stay there! An interception here or a fumble there will turn this game into a blowout before the first sip of whiskey is tasted in the stands. If the Mountaineers can hit a few quick slants in addition to getting Avon Cobourne off to a fast start, the Mountaineers will stay in this game to the end. Look for Shawn Terry to burn a Tech defender for 1 touchdown.
Advantage : Virginia Tech

WVU defense vs. Virginia Tech offense
Here's the million dollar question...Can WVU's defense contain the Hokie running game? The Hokies has one of the best running attacks in the country (252.2 yds/game) while the Mountaineer rush defense has been suspect at best, ranking 104 out of 117 Div-1A schools. So, the answer?

Yes! Call me crazy, but I've got a gut feeling that the fired up Mountaineer defense will hold the Hokies to less than 200 yards rushing. The horrid numbers put up by the WVU rush defense so far has been due to injuries and the opponents. WVU opponents have rushed the ball 67.1% of the time while passing only 32.9%. Virginia Tech, on the other hand, has rushed 64.1% and passed 35.9%, which has resulted in 1.5 fumbles per game but no interceptions.

Another major factor in the match-up is Grant Noel. Noel, a West Virginia native has performed extremely well considering he is being asked to fill some big shoes. Noel has yet to throw an interception and is competing over 60% of his passes. The question that Noel has to answer is can he perform in front of a hostile crowd? The Hokies only other road game has been against Rutgers...and folks, Piscataway will never be confused with Morgantown!
Advantage: Virginia Tech

Click for Morgantown, West Virginia Forecast
WVU special teams vs. Virginia Tech special teams
This has been a bright spot for the Mountaineers and it will have to shine against the Hokies. Shawn Terry can return a kick for a TD at any time and is one of the top kick returners in the nation (he is averaging 34.22 yds/return and is ranked 4th nationally). Mark Fazzalori is averaging 42 yards per punt and Brendan Rauh is ranked 13th nationally with 1.75 field goals per game. Punt and kick coverage has improved each game to give WVU an overall solid performance on special teams.

Virginia Tech has brought new meaning to the term "special teams" in the last decade but this year's team has not been as dominating. If West Virginia is going to out perform the Hokie special teams, this is the year. One thing the Mountaineers need to be aware of is a fake punt. Frank Beamer has been working in practice on a fake punt where the punter, Vinnie Burns passes the ball, hopefully to the wrong team!
Advantage : Push

Picks to Click:

On Offense: Phil Braxton
On Defense: Shawn Hackett

Stat of the week:
Since 1996 Virginia Tech is 16-15 against the spread and 29-2 overall when they are spotting their opponent 14 points or more.
Stats & Trends

This Virginia Tech team is hard to predict. Their schedule up to now has been nothing to write home about, Western Michigan being their toughest test to date. The Hokies will find out Saturday if they have the team to win the Big East Championship. On the other hand, the Mountaineers looked like the jolly ole fat man in the red suit handing out footballs against Maryland, but this week the Grinch will show himself at Mountaineer Field on Saturday in the form of Blue and Gold gladiators.

Bad Santa says : WVU 10 Virginia Tech 35
WVU Grinch says : WVU 23 Virginia Tech 22

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