Virginia Tech Hokies (5-3, 3-2) at East Carolina Pirates (5-3, 4-1)
Time: 7:30 p.m. EST
Date: Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009
Place: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (43,000), Greenville, NC
TV: ESPN (DirecTV 206)
East Carolina: The Pirates currently sit at the top of the Conference USA East Division standings with a 4-1 league record ... all three of ECU's losses this year have come on the road: West Virginia and North Carolina in back-to-back weeks in September and a head-scratcher against SMU Oct. 10 in Dallas ... the Hokies and Pirates have two common opponents this year - both lost to UNC and beat Marshall ... in the UNC game, T.J. Yates was 19-for-24 for 227 yards and two TDs in a 31-17 Tar Heel win ... against Marshall, the Pirates won despite only 286 yards of total offense.
Trends: East Carolina has won six consecutive home games ... Virginia Tech has lost four of its last five true road games with the one win coming Oct. 3 at Duke ... Virginia Tech is 7-1 all-time against CUSA with its lone loss coming last year against ECU ... Virginia Tech is 2-4 in non-conference regular season games away from Lane Stadium since joining the ACC in 2004 ... ECU is 5-6 against the ACC under Skip Holtz (2005-pres.) and 2-5 against the ACC from 2007-pres.
History Lesson: This is the third consecutive season the Hokies and Pirates have met ... the two teams are currently scheduled to meet every year through 2015 ... The Pirates will visit Blacksburg in 2010, 2012 and 2014 ... the Hokies will visit Greenville in 2011, 2013 and 2015 ... this is Virginia Tech's first trip to Greenville since 2000 when the Hokies beat the Pirates, 45-28 ... the Hokies are 9-5 all-time against ECU and 3-2 in Greenville ... the Hokies had won six consecutive meetings with the Pirates before last year's loss in Charlotte.
What to Expect:
- Expect a running game by committee from the Pirates. Their 17 rushing TDs are second in CUSA behind USM. However, no one has more than four rushing TDs for them. Five players have at least three.
- Expect a less effective Patrick Pinkney. Pinkney's efficiency rating, yards per attempt and completion percentage are all way down this year and he's already thrown nine interceptions to eight touchdowns.
- Expect another stout rush defense. The Pirates haven't allowed a rushing touchdown in their last three games against Memphis, Rice and SMU. However, West Virginia and North Carolina both averaged over 4.0 ypc against them.
- Expect a hornet's nest. The Pirates are 4-2 against BCS opponents in Dowdy-Ficklen under Skip Holtz.
- Expect to know if the Hokies are going to win within the first couple drives. They'll either be a motivated group or one willing to rollover and die.
Hokies win if: They get their fucking shit together.
Pirates win if: The Hokies don't get their fucking shit together.
Dot-dot-dots: This is the first time Virginia Tech has played a true road game against a non-BCS opponent since 2002 when the Hokies, then in the Big East, played at Western Michigan ... freshman linebacker Lyndell Gibson is expected to make his first start in place of Jake Johnson on Thursday ... freshman center Michael Via could also make his first career start at center on Thursday ... OK, I try not to take anything from Dave Smith's official game notes, but this one is too weird not to share: Virginia Tech has lost the coin toss in each of its first eight games.
East Carolina Links