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2009 Virginia Tech Football: Nebraska Game Guide

Virginia Tech Hokies (1-1) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-0)

Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT
Date: Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009
Place: Lane Stadium at Worsham Field, Blacksburg, Va.
TV: ABC/ESPN2 Reverse Mirror

Nebraska: The Huskers won their first two games of the 2009 season at home against Sun Belt Conference opponents Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State ... as with the 2008 contest, the Huskers come into their game with the Hokies undefeated and untested ... in 2008, Nebraska opened up the season with wins over Western Michigan, San Jose State and New Mexico State before hosting the Hokies ... there are a lot of new faces on offense for the Huskers this time around ... gone from last year are QB Joe Ganz, RB Marlon Lucky, RB Quintin Castille, WR Nate Swift and WR Todd Peterson ... however, one big name is still with Nebraska: DT Ndamukong Suh (en-DOM-ah-ken SUE) ... if Alabama's Terrence Cody is the best DT we'll face this year, Suh is next in line.

Trends: Virginia Tech has won nine consecutive home games ... its last home loss was 14-10 against BC on Oct. 25, 2007 ... the Hokies have won 31 consecutive non-conference home games dating back to a 36-32 loss to UVa on Nov. 28, 1998 ... Nebraska has won six consecutive games and eight of its last nine dating back to last season ... Nebraska has not lost East of the Mississippi River since 2002 when it lost at Penn State, 40-7.

History Lesson: The Hokies and Huskers have met twice before ... last year, the Hokies went to Lincoln and won 35-30 thanks to 258 total yards from Tyrod Taylor and two rushing touchdowns by Darren Evans ... the Hokies were 6-for-6 in the red zone against Nebraska in that game ... the Huskers beat the Hokies in the 1996 Orange Bowl 41-21 and out-scored Virginia Tech 24-7 in the second half ... Jim Druckenmiller threw for three touchdowns, but Nebraska rolled up 279 yards and four TDs on the ground.

What to Expect

  • Expect a faster Husker team. I thought Nebraska was very slow on both offense and defense last year. Its speed on both sides of the ball appears improved.
  • Expect a balanced Husker team. Nebraska has run almost an identical number of run and pass plays this year, even when you break them down by quarter. Their number of rushes in not inflated by having big leads late against an inferior opponent. In fact, in those two routs, the Huskers ran 15 run plays and 15 pass plays in the fourth quarter, according to the incomparable
  • Expect broken tackles. Husker Mike was not pleased with the amount of yards after contact Arkansas State had against Nebraska. That's music to my ears. If the Marshall game was any indication, Williams and Wilson are very hard to bring down.
  • Don't expect many yards between the tackles. Suh is still a beast.
  • Expect an efficient game from Nebraska's Zac Lee. Nebraska has a great TE weapon in Mike McNeill who will give Jake Johnson fits. The Huskers also have RBs who can catch the ball out of the backfield. But like the Hokies, they're waiting for deep threats to develop.
  • Expect some running yards from Tyrod. He racked up 87 yards last year against the Huskers.
  • Expect to see a lot of red. Husker fans travel very, very well. Just ask Wake Forest.
Hokies win if: They have success running the ball with Williams and Wilson and get pressure on Lee to force him into mistakes.

Huskers win if: Roy Helu has a big day, they are successful converting third-and-short to sustain drives and create turnovers.

Dot-dot-dots: The last three times the Hokies lost their season opener they went on to win their conference (from last week's VTSID game notes) ... saturday was Virginia Tech's largest margin of victory (42 pts) since it beat Georgia Tech 51-7 in 2005 ... the 52 points the Hokies scored against Marshall were their most since they beat Virginia 52-14 in 2005 ... Saturday was the first time a pair of Hokie running backs went over 100 yards since Cedric Humes and Branden Ore did it against UNC in 2005 ... Tech's 605 yards of offense was its most since it had 606 against UConn in 2001 ... its 444 rushing yards was its most since 1995 when it had 453 against Akron.

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