Bits and Bytes - Virginia Tech

WVU and Virginia Tech are top rated in several conference statistics, and the units responsible for some of those rankings will square off face to face during the contest.

THE OLD ONE-TWO

WVU is first in the Big East in rushing offense. Tech is first in the Big East in rushing defense. Tech is second in the league in rushing offense, while WVU is second in rushing defense. I can't recall the last time such a symmetrical matchup could be found among conference teams as they faced off.

The winner of this matchup is also likely to prevail in the game. Over the last 15 years, the team that has won the rushing yardage battle is 13-2.

FASHION NOTE

WVU is 2-0 this year wearing their all white uniforms. Both wins came against teams wearing dark unicolor home jerseys.

Does this mean anything? Probably not. But just in case...maybe WVU ought to break out the all whites.

EVEN UP

Rich Rodriguez could even his WVU career record at 11-11 with a win over the Hokies. Geez, couldn't he have made it a bit tougher on himself? Maybe he should have scheduled the Packers or the Raiders instead of the Hokies, at home, at night, on national TV.

Even if he doesn't make it this week, I'm betting it won't be too much longer before he's on the right side of .500.

STATS STATS EVERYWHERE STATS

WVU's passing offense has received some criticism for not going downfield more, which is a legitimate concern. The Mountaineers are averaging only 5.5 yards per pass attempt this year. That number needs to improve.

However (you knew that was coming), the WVU pass defense, which has also received a few knocks, is allowing only 6.5 yards per attempt to their opponents. Mountaineer foes have thrown 103 more passes than WVU, but, for the most part, the West Virginia defense has executed their scheme well. Prevent the long pass or big catch and run, keep the receivers in front, and go on to the next play.

AVOID THE PICK

Virginia Tech's great pass rush pressure not only yields sacks, but also interceptions. The Hokies are third in the nation with 18 pickoffs. WVU, on the other hand, has been stellar at not giving the ball away. Rasheed Marshall has thrown only three interceptions in 212 attempts this year.

This is yet another battle where two teams performing very well will clash head to head. Seems like this game is full of them.

Tech isn't a stranger to getting interceptions against an accurate passer, however. The Hokies picked off four Marc Bulger passes during the 1998 game in B-burg. Bulger threw only nine interceptions all season, and almost half of them came in Lane Stadium.

QUIETLY AMAZING

Defensive lineman David Upchurch leads the Mountaineers with 14.5 tackles for losses. If that doesn't impress you, read it again. Defensive lineman David Upchurch.

A down lineman in a three man front, who gets more attention than any other player in the trenches, is still good enough to get in the backfield and make plays on a consistent basis.

Like his predecessor John Thornton, I think we're not going to fully appreciate everything Upchurch has meant to this team until he's gone.


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