Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0, 0-0) at East Carolina Pirates (0-1, 0-0)
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT
Date: Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011
Place: Greenville, NC
Stadium: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (Cap: 50,000, Open: 1963, Field: Bermuda)
TV: Fox Sports Net and Comcast Sports Net
Radio: VT ISP
Spread: VT -19.5
Weather: High of 83, 40 percent chance of rain
East Carolina: The Pirates are coming off a 56-37 loss to South Carolina in Charlotte. ECU jumped out to a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter thanks in part to recovering three fumbles, two of which gave the Pirates the ball in Gamecock territory and led to 10 points. After going into halftime up 24-14, the Pirates allowed touchdowns on USC's first four drives of the second half thanks in part to three fumbles of their own that gave the Gamecocks the ball deep in Pirate territory. ECU QB Dominique Davis finished the game 37-for-56 (66.1 percent) for 260 yards (4.6 ypa), four touchdowns and an interception. The Pirate defense gave up five rushing touchdowns to USC RB Marcus Lattimore and QB Stephen Garcia. The Pirates are in the second year of running the Texas-Tech-style Air Raid offense and have switched to the 3-4 defense this season. For the East Carolina perspective on the game, visit Hoist the Colours.
Trends: Virginia Tech has won 11 consecutive regular-season games and seven consecutive true road games. The Hokies are trying to start a season 2-0 for the first time since 2006 when they started 4-0. They have won eight consecutive games against teams from North Carolina. East Carolina is currently on a four-game losing streak and have lost six of its last seven dating back to last season. The Pirates have not lost a home opener since 2004 when they lost to Wake Forest in its second game of the season. They have not started a season 0-2 since 2006 when they opened the season with loses to Navy and UAB.
History Lesson: Virginia Tech is 11-5 all-time against the Pirates, 10-5 against them under Frank Beamer and 4-2 against them in Greenville. The Hokies have won two in a row and eight of their last nine against East Carolina with their last loss coming in their 2008 opener in Charlotte, NC. The Hokies have lost their last three trips to Greenville with their last loss there coming in 1992. The teams met last year in Blacksburg when ECU took a 17-7 lead early in the second quarter and led 27-21 early in the third. The Hokies, without Ryan Williams who was injured in the first half, scored 28 unanswered points to win, 49-27. The Hokies rolled up 249 rushing yards in the game, including 89 yards and two touchdowns from David Wilson on 12 carries.
What to Expect
- The Pirates had five offensive players and four defensive players start against South Carolina who also started in their bowl game against Maryland. With only two returning offensive linemen and juco transfer running back, expect the Hokies to be able to stop the run focus on the ECU passing attack.
- Expect the Pirates to be at full strength. They'll get CB Emanuel Davis and WR Michael Bowman back for this game after they were suspended for the opener after an incident at a Greenville nightclub in June. Both will be huge additions for ECU in Game 2.
- Expect the Hokies to try and get some rushing yards between the tackles. The one concerning thing from Saturday's game was Tech's struggle to run up the middle. Wilson's speed on the outside was way too much for Appalachian State, but that difference won't be as great against ECU. They'll need to get some yards up the middle against the Pirates.
- Expect them to be able to do it. South Carolina was able to pound the ball against ECU, especially late. They had 220 yards and none of their 39 carries were stopped for a loss (ECU did record one sack, which goes down as a carry).
- Expect there to be running lanes for Logan Thomas. The Pirates weren't able to contain Garcia, who ran for 56 yards on five carries, including two touchdowns.