Virginia Tech Hokies (2-2, 1-0) at NC State Wolfpack (4-0, 1-0)
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT
Date: Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010
Place: Carter-Finley Stadium (57,583), Raleigh, NC
TV: ABC Regional
NC State: The Wolfpack are coming off a 45-28 win over Georgia Tech to start the season 4-0 for the first time since 2002 when they started 9-0 ... QB Russell Wilson struggled in the Pack's second game of the season against UCF, completing 10 of 30 pass attempts ... in the last two games against Cincinnati and Georgia Tech, Wilson is a combined 54-81 (66.7 percent) for 701 yards (8.7 ypa), six touchdowns and one interception (his only pick of the year) ... in the very young season, the Pack have allowed 5.2 ypp (T7th in the ACC), 3.5 ypc (5th in the ACC) and 7.7 ypa (11th in the ACC).
Trends: The Hokies have won four consecutive true road games ... the Wolfpack have won three consecutive home games ... since joining the ACC in 2004, Virginia Tech is 20-5 in conference road games ... in the same span, NC State is 10-14 at home ... under Tom O'Brien, the Wolfpack are 9-10 at home against FBS opponents, including 6-6 against the ACC ... the Wolfpack have not started ACC play 2-0 since 2006 when they finished the season 2-6 in conference ... the Hokies are looking to open conference play 2-0 for the sixth consecutive season ... the only time they didn't start ACC play 2-0 was 2004, their first year in the league, when NC State won in Blacksburg to drop the Hokies to 1-1 in league play.
History Lesson: The Hokies are 25-18-4 all-time against NC State, including 3-8-1 in Raleigh and 2-1 in Carter-Finley Stadium ... Frank Beamer is 4-2-1 against NC State ... the Hokies have won the last two games in the series and are 6-2-1 in the last nine meetings ... Tech beat the Wolfpack, 38-10, last season ... in that game, Cody Grimm forced fumbles on three of NC State's first four offensive plays and Ryan Williams had four rushing touchdowns ... Tech won the last meeting in Raleigh in 2005, 20-16, despite being out-gained 438-232 in the game ... Aaron Rouse had two interceptions in the game, including one on the final play ... the teams met in the 1985 Peach Bowl, won 25-24 by Virginia Tech on a 40-yard field goal by Chris Kinzer as time expired ... it was the first bowl win in Virginia Tech history.
What to Expect
- Expect this to be a much tougher environment than BC. While the Eagles had trouble filling Alumni Stadium for a Nooner, Carter-Finley can be one of the loudest, most-frenzied crowds in the ACC for big games. This will be a huge test of the Hokies' fortitude.
- Expect the secondary to get plenty of chances to prove it's improved. However, Russell Wilson is a much better QB than Dave Shinskie. We'll be able to see just how much progress guys like Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and Anone Exum have made.
- Expect NC State to be able to take advantage of the Hokies' nickel packages. Mustafa Green is a power back who has rushing touchdowns in each of the Pack's first four games. He's averaged over five yards per carry in the last two games.
- Expect NC State to force Tyrod Taylor to beat them through the air. The Pack's secondary has been pedestrian so far, but the pressure will still be on Taylor to make make good decisions, quickly.
- Don't expect a lot from Ryan Williams. Again, I have absolutely no inside info, but I'll still be surprised if we see Williams on Saturday and downright shocked if he gets more than a handful of touches if he does play.
Hokies win if: They do to Russell Wilson what BC did to Tyrod Taylor, force turnovers and convert in the red zone.
Wolfpack win if: They stop the Hokies on first down and have success against the VT secondary.
Dot-dot-dots: Beamer is 8-2 against O'Brien, with all but one of those meetings coming while O'Brien was at Boston College ... since the start of the 2007 season, the Hokies are 8-1 when playing at 3:30 p.m. ET ... the one loss was in 2008 at Florida State ... while Justin Myer is 21st in the country with a 32 percent touchback percentage on kickoffs, the Hokies are giving up 25.3 yards per kick return, which ranks 104th ... Virginia Tech is T81st in red zone touchdown percentage, getting into the end zone on nine of 18 trips ... after allowing eight touchdowns on their opponents' previous 11 red zone attempts, the Hokies held BC scoreless in the two red zone trips last week.