2010 Virginia Tech Football: What to Watch vs. Central Michigan

Virginia Tech Hokies (3-2, 2-0) vs. Central Michigan Chippewas (2-3, 1-2)

The Team

  • We're all waiting for the Hokies to come out, show intensity from the opening kickoff and play a complete game. This game, Tech's last non-conference game of the regular season, would be a good time for that first complete game. I can assure you CMU will come out ready to go from the start after being embarrassed at home last week by Ball State.
  • The No. 1 thing I'm looking for on both sides of the ball is consistency. We've seen the Hokies at their best in the second half last week against NC State. Now it's time to see them show that level of play from drive to drive.
  • As usual, a lot of stats are from cfbstats.com.

Virginia Tech Offense vs. Central Michigan Defense

  • Don't get too wide-eyed by the 306 rushing yards Ball State had against CMU last week. The Chips haven't come close to allowing that kind of production this year, especially the 7.1 yards per game the Cardinals racked up. The Hokies should have a good amount of success on the ground, but don't expect the kind of pounding BSU managed.
  • The Chips have two very good linebackers in Nick Bellore and Matt Berning. They could make it tough for Darren Evans to get the ground game going over the middle. However, if Evans is able to get big gains between the tackles consistently, it will be a very good day for the Virginia Tech offense.
  • Where the Hokies should be able to make a living is passing over the middle. Every time I've seen CMU this year, team have been able to work the middle of the field against them. Northwestern was especially effective and I think Danny Coale and Dyrell Roberts should be able to have big games.
  • Watch Tyrod Taylor's mechanics in this game. As I said after the NC State game, he's been missing high this year and it has cost him. That's not like the Tyrod we saw last year. What I noticed in the early games is he's afraid his protection is going to fail and he's not able to get his momentum going forward and he's throwing with his weight slightly on his back foot, as was the case in the INT he threw against NC State. The pass blocking has gotten better recently, so hopefully this problem will fix itself. I'm hoping Tyrod has a big game against CMU.
  • Hopefully the Hokies' red zone success will continue this week. While CMU held its first three opponents (Hampton, Temple and Eastern Michigan) to two touchdowns in nine red zone trips, Northwestern and Ball State found the end zone in four of seven trips.
  • CMU struggled mightily on third down against Northwestern as the Wildcats converted on 11 of 17 third downs. However, it's done pretty well in its other games, with those four opponents converting 19 of 60 (31.7 percent).
Virginia Tech Defense vs. Central Michigan Offense
  • You will see the kitchen sink from CMU in this game. Dan Enos has installed a pro-style offense, but you'll also see some shotgun and spread elements as well, meaning we might see some more of Tech's nickel and 30 packages this week. 
  • I don't think Central Michigan has a very good offensive line and the Hokies should be able to stop the Chippewa run game and put pressure on Ryan Radcliff consistently.
  • On the ground, CMU is averaging under 4.0 yards per carry this year and has been held to 76 yards or fewer and an average of 2.4 ypc on the ground in its three losses. The Chips have also allowed 16 sacks this year, nine in the last two games. The 16 sacks allowed are more than all by five teams in FBS this season.
  • CMU is also in the bottom quarter of the country in third down conversions at 35.7 percent. That's surprising since the Chips have been pretty good on first down, averaging 4.3 yards on their 94 first-down rush attempts and 8.9 yards per attempt on their 67 first-down passes. Forty-nine percent of CMU's offense comes on first down. By comparison, 43 percent of Tech's offense comes on first down.
  • I expect big games from the defensive ends, Steven Friday and Chris Drager, in this game. The key for the Hokies will be play recognition and knowing when to blitz against the Chippewa offense.
  • Another matchup to watch is Rashad Carmichael and Jayron Hosley against wide receiver Cody Wilson. While teams have focused on limiting the catches of senior Kito Poblah, Wilson has emerged as the Chippewas' best playmaker. 
  • He's been a consistent target for Radcliff with his 25 catches spread out: Five in the first quarter, six in the second, seven in the third, six in the fourth. He also has nine rushing attempts for 67 yards and a touchdown. CMU will try to get the ball to him early and often.
Watch the Box Score
  • Virginia Tech YPC
  • Virginia Tech Sacks
  • Avg Field Position
  • Central Michigan 3rd Down %
Virginia Tech Players to Watch
  • 32 - Darren Evans, Jr., RB
  • 19 - Danny Coale, Jr., WR
  • 82 - Steven Friday, Sr., DE
  • 44 - Lyndell Gibson, So., LB
Central Michigan Players to Watch
  • 11 - Cody Wilson, So., WR
  • 6 - Paris Cotton, Jr., RB
  • 43 - Nick Bellore, Sr., LB
  • 9 - Bobby Seay, Sr., FS
Final Score

Virginia Tech 34, Central Michigan 6
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