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MATT GENTRY | The Roanoke Times
Virginia Tech running backs coach Shane Beamer (right) celebrates with Trey Edmunds after Edmunds scored during the Hokies' 35-10 loss to Alabama last week.
Friday, September 6, 2013
Virginia Tech vs. Western Carolina
1:30 P.M. | ESPN3 | LANE STADIUM
RECORDS: CATAMOUNTS (0-1), HOKIES (0-1)
SERIES: First meeting.
LINE: Virginia Tech by 42.
OFFENSE: EDGE HOKIES
Tech’s offense should benefit from a downgrade in opposition. The Hokies held their own in the running game against Alabama, with Trey Edmunds running for 132 yards. But the passing game needs work. The Hokies’ receivers spent extra time with a JUGS machine after a drop-filled opener contributed to quarterback Logan Thomas’ 5-for-26 effort. RB J.C. Coleman and WR Charley Meyer both are likely to return from injuries. The Catamounts like to spread things out and will likely use two QBs. Troy Mitchell threw for 161 yards and two scores against Middle Tennessee, and Eddie Sullivan threw for 96 yards. Mitchell had eight rushing touchdowns last year.
DEFENSE: EDGE HOKIES
Tech couldn’t have asked for much more out of its defense in the opener, holding Alabama to 206 yards of offense. The Hokies allowed only 3.32 yards per play, 10th best in the country. Tech was the first team to hold the Tide to under 100 yards rushing since LSU did it during a 9-6 victory in 2011. Expect plenty of nickel defense today against Western Carolina’s spread offense. That just means more of freshmen Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson at corner. Both acquitted themselves well in the opener. The Catamounts gave up 270 yards and four TDs on the ground to MTSU last week.
SPECIAL TEAMS: EDGE HOKIES
Tech had its woes, giving up a kick and a punt return for a TD against Alabama. But Western Carolina also gave up a punt return for a score. Frank Beamer has vowed to put more veterans on coverage teams this week, so the tackling should be better. Kyshoen Jarrett is more of a weapon than anybody the Catamounts have on their special teams.
INTANGIBLES: EDGE HOKIES
The Hokies have won 23 of 26 home openers under Beamer and should be plenty motivated after a 25-point loss to Alabama in which they played better than the final score indicated. Don’t expect an upset this afternoon.
PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 52, Western Carolina 7
-- Andy Bitter
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