Rainey

Citadel quarterback Brandon Rainey (center) led his team to an upset win at Georgia Tech last month. The Citadel will host VMI on Saturday.

VMI AT THE CITADEL

2 p.m. Saturday, WWCW

The Citadel (2-3, 0-1 Southern Conference) has won “The Military Classic of the South” 12 straight times.

The Bulldogs knocked off Georgia Tech 27-24 in overtime on Sept. 14. They played another OT game last week, losing 61-55 in four overtimes at Samford. The score was tied at 38 at the end of the fourth quarter.

VMI (2-3, 1-1) is coming off a 51-36 loss to Wofford, which uses an option attack out of a shotgun set.

The Citadel uses the option-oriented flexbone offense. The Bulldogs rank 13th in the FCS in rushing offense (254.2 ypg) and lead the FCS in time of possession (38 minutes per game).

“They maintain the ball as well as any team I’ve ever watched,” VMI coach Scott Wachenheim said. “But they also have big-strike [passing] capability.

“That offense, … what it forces defenses to do is play man coverage. So they get a lot of one-on-one matchups and they’ve got good receivers that can take advantage of it.”

Citadel QB Brandon Rainey, who leads the SoCon in passing efficiency, completed six of seven passes for 196 yards and two TDs and ran for 65 yards and three TDs last week.

VMI’s Alex Ramsey (Salem) ranks fourth in the FCS in rushing (550 yards).

VMI’s Reece Udinski has thrown 217 passes this year without an interception, breaking the SoCon single-season record. He needs two more passes without an interception to break the SoCon career mark; Elon’s Scott Riddle threw 218 straight passes without an interception from 2008-09.

PITTSBURGH AT DUKE

8 p.m. Saturday, ACC Network

Pitt (3-2, 0-1 ACC) has beaten Duke (3-1, 1-0) the past four years.

Duke has recorded only 10 sacks this year. Pitt is tied for second in the FBS with 24 sacks, so Duke’s offensive line will be tested.

“That’s a huge matchup,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “We’ve emphasized trying to get to the quarterback and finish sacks. We still missed a few too many. So I think the winner of that game is the winner of the sack game.”

The Panthers had to rally to beat FCS member Delaware 17-14 last week.

“It comes down to emotions,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said of that game. “Our guys didn’t play the best game they could have. I think you’d better have your mind right. I don’t think our guys really did.”

Narduzzi would not say Monday whether QB Kenny Pickett, who missed the Delaware game with a shoulder injury, would play Saturday. But Pickett did reportedly practice Tuesday.

BOSTON COLLEGE AT LOUISVILLE

12:30 p.m. Saturday, NBC Sports Washington

Louisville (2-2, 0-1), which was idle last week, has lost to BC (3-2, 1-1) the past two years.

Cardinals QB Jawon Pass missed the past two games with a foot injury. Malik Cunningham, who has started in his place, sprained an ankle in the loss to Florida State two weeks ago.

“Malik practiced on Sunday and it was in cleats, running around, so I feel pretty good about him,” Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said. “If he will make the same progress he made last week, this week I think he 100 percent will play. … [Pass] is the biggest question in my mind.”

BC RB AJ Dillon has rushed for 627 yards. But Satterfield is also worried about BC QB Anthony Brown.

“You try to slow it up to stop the run, next thing you know they’re throwing the ball over the top,” Satterfield said.

NORTH CAROLINA AT GEORGIA TECH

4 p.m. Saturday, ACC Network

The Tar Heels (2-3, 1-1) followed up a loss to Appalachian State by throwing a huge scare into Clemson last week. So UNC coach Mack Brown wants to make sure his team plays and practices this week with the same passion that it did last week against the reigning national champion.

“We are going to be all over them [in practice],” Brown said. “We’ve got to become the team that’s angry every week and wants to do the best that we can do, not go like the wind. And right now we’re a little bit like the wind.”

The Yellow Jackets (1-3, 0-1) are coming off a 24-2 loss to Temple. Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins steered Temple the past two years.

“There’s been eight guys drafted [from Temple] in the past three years,” Collins said. “In that same time span, I think we’ve had a kicker [drafted out of Georgia Tech]. So we need to make sure we’re developing, recruiting at a high level at this great institution.”

VILLANOVA AT WILLIAM AND MARY

3:30 p.m. Saturday, Cox Ch. 9

The Wildcats (5-0, 2-0 Colonial Athletic Association) are ranked No. 5 in the STATS FCS poll.

The Tribe (2-3, 0-1) has beaten Villanova the past two years.

ALBANY AT RICHMOND

2 p.m. Saturday, NBC Sports Wash. Plus

The Spiders (1-3, 0-1 CAA) are 6-0 against Albany (3-2, 1-0).

FERRUM AT W&L

4 p.m. Saturday

Ferrum QB Zack Clifford, who missed last week’s 31-10 loss to Randolph-Macon, will return to action for the Panthers (1-2, 0-1 ODAC) on Saturday. The Glenvar graduate suffered a concussion in a 35-12 loss to Averett two weeks ago; he left that game in the fourth quarter.

Panthers RB Brian Mann (Giles) has been held under 90 yards rushing in each of the past two weeks.

“Teams are doing things to get an extra hat down there and we’ve got to do some things on the perimeter to loosen the box up,” Ferrum coach Rob Grande said.

The option-oriented Generals (3-1, 2-0), who have won three straight games, have been surprisingly dangerous in the air of late.

Jack Pollard completed seven of 10 passes for 196 yards and two TDs in a win over Guilford two weeks ago and completed seven of nine passes for 244 yards and two TDs in last week’s victory at Hampden-Sydney.

“Everyone is certainly committed to stopping our run game,” W&L coach Garrett LeRose said. “If we can pick and choose our spots, he can make his reads and we have some opportunities for some really big [pass] plays.

“We’re just excited to have a guy who’s executing at such a high level right now.”

Grande has taken note.

“You’ve got to keep that eye discipline on the run-pass reads,” Grande said. “When you’re not, big, explosive [pass] plays are there because you’re so committed to the run that one lapse creates a big play.”

SOUTHERN VIRGINIA AT SHENANDOAH

7 p.m. Saturday

The Knights (2-1, 1-1 ODAC) are coming off a 40-6 loss at unbeaten Bridgewater, which was picked second in the ODAC preseason poll.

“Sometimes you can think about, ‘Maybe this game was too big for them,’ and look at that, or there was a little bit of choking in a big game,” SVU coach Edwin Mulitalo said.

Mulitalo was not happy with his defense last week.

“We just were not tackling,” he said. “We tackled grass a lot that day. We were diving; I don’t know what was going on. But we won’t miss tackles this week, I’ll tell you that much.”

The Hornets (2-1, 1-1) lost to Bridgewater 35-17 two weeks ago and beat Guilford 26-7 last week.

Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men’s basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum.

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