Remember last year when I did just a massive collection of links to posts about the week's best games? I'm not surprised you don't because no one read it and it was really just a colossal waste of my time. This year I'm going to try putting a different spin on it by just going over the games played by Tech's Soon to be Vanquished Foes.
I'll also add my own perspective on the games and what they mean for Tech in the future. Hopefully you'll think its more relevant and it'll actually be something you'll be willing to read. It's something that could be tweaked as the year goes on, so please leave any feedback you have (positive or negative) and I'll toy with this feature as need be.
[Ed. Note: After writing this, I realize that this little feature is going to be the bane of my existence all season long. FML.]
Sept. 11 vs. James Madison (1-0, 0-0 CAA)
Week 1: James Madison 48, Morehead State 7
Week 2: at Virginia Tech
The Dukes christened a renovated Bridgeforth Stadium by blowing out Morehead State from the Pioneer League. The Eagles, 3-8 in 2009, were no match for JMU, which held Morehead to 152 total yards.
The Dukes had a balanced rushing attack as Griff Yancey and Jordan Anderson ran for 66 yards each and Jamal Sullivan added 65. Quarterback Drew Dudzik was 8-for-15 for 189 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. His backup and 2009 CAA Rookie of the Year, Justin Thorpe, hyperextended his left knee in the first half and will miss the Dukes' game against the Hokies.
That means Tech will only have to prepare for the more pro-style Dudzik, who did run eight times for 18 yards against Morehead, and not the multi-talented Thorpe.
JMU Sports Blog: Defense dominant, Dudzik inconsistent.
Sept. 18 vs. East Carolina (1-0, 1-0 CUSA)
Week 1: East Carolina 51, Tulsa 49
Week 2: vs. Memphis
Justin Jones made an acrobatic catch in the end zone after time had expired to give the Pirates a miraculous win over Tulsa in Ruffin McNeill's first game as head coach. It was a crazy end to a crazy game that saw both East Carolina and Tulsa score touchdowns in its last five possessions.
It took the Pirates a while to get rolling with their new Air Raid offense, as they had five punts and an interception in their first nine possessions. Quarterback Dominique Davis (you remember him from BC) looked out of sorts at times, including on ECU's first possession of the second half when he took two sacks and threw and ill-advised pass into traffic.
Davis settled down and completed 16 of his last 24 passes for 254 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in the Pirates' last five drives. He finished the game 27-for-46 for 383 yards, five touchdowns and a pick. He also ran 11 times for 29 yards.
The East Carolina offense has some dynamic players, including speedy all-purpose receiver and return man Dwayne Harris, big target receiver Lance Lewis and shifty running back Jonathan Williams. The Hokies will have to do a lot better tackling against ECU than Tulsa did.
On defense, ECU gave up a lot of yards on passes over the middle and its linebackers and safeties seemed no match for Tulsa's receivers and backs. And like the Golden Hurricane, ECU had trouble tackling. One thing I did notice was ECU didn't give up a lot of yards when Tulsa's ballcarriers and receivers tried to go East-West. The Hokies will need a good North-South run game when they face the Pirates.
Sept. 25 at Boston College (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Week 1: Boston College 38, Weber State 20
Week 2: vs. Kent State
BC built a 31-10 halftime lead over Weber State and cruised to a 38-20 win over the Wildcats out of the Big Sky Conference in linebacker Mark Herzlich's return to the field. Herzlich, the 2008 ACC DPOY who missed 2009 after being diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, was in on five tackles against Weber, including three solo.
Offensively, the Eagles were led by running back Montel Harris, who carried the ball 19 times for 115 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three balls for 31 yards. Running back Sterlin Phifer ran seven times for 48 yards and also caught a 22-yard touchdown pass.
Quarterback Dave Shinskie was inconsistent, going 10-for-20 for 185 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, including one on his first attempt of the season. Mike Marscovetra completed two of three passes for 38 yards and a touchdown.
The Eagles once again have a strong ground game with Harris and a stout defense. However, their passing game could be a liability. Shinskie will be looking for redemption against Virginia Tech after he completed only one of 12 attempts against the Hokies in 2009. However, he'll need to look much better next week against Kent State for me to fear him as a quarterback.
The Eagle defense held Weber to 2.7 yards per carry and also forced three turnovers. Two Weber quarterbacks combined to complete 62 percent of their passes to 12 different receivers. While the rush defense was stout, the Eagles weren't able to get a good pass rush and the Wildcat QBs took what the Eagles gave them.
BC's game against Kent State will be its last tune-up for the Hokies as the Eagles have a bye week in Week 3.
BC Interruption: Shinskie shaky, but Eagles roll.
Soaring to Glory: Defense not without its warts.
Oct. 2 at NC State (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Week 1: NC State 48, Western Carolina 7
Week 2: at Central Florida
Russell Wilson completed 21 of 31 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns as NC State hammered the Southern Conference's Western Carolina. Wilson threw touchdown passes in each of the Wolfpack's first four drives of the game.
While Wilson lit up the Catamounts through the air, the NC State run game struggled without its top two running backs. Dean Haynes got the nod at RB and carried the ball 13 times for 69 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, NC State didn't allow much as Western Carolina had 189 total yards and averaged 2.8 yards per carry.
Backing the Pack: Wilson not quite back to normal.
Riddick and Reynolds: O-line struggles, defense looks improved.
Oct. 9: vs. Central Michigan (1-0, 0-0 MAC)
Week 1: Central Michigan 33, Hampton 0
Week 2: at Temple
We'll learn a lot more about the Chippewas after their next three games, all on the road, against Temple, Eastern Michigan and Northwestern. This week they unveiled their new pro-style offense, which racked up 427 yards against an overmatched Hampton squad out of the MEAC.
On defense, Central held the Pirates to 129 yards, including 1.4 yards per carry on the ground. All-America candidate Nick Bellore led the team with 11 tackles, including one for loss. Caesar Rodriguez added two sacks and forced a fumble.
On offense, starting QB Ryan Radcliff completed 20 of 34 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown and ran for another. However, he was sacked three times by the Hampton defense. Paris Cotton led the Chips' rushing attack with 94 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown. Central was held to 4.0 yards per carry by the Hampton defense.
Fire Up Chips: Offense was lackluster, defense was great.
FireUpChips.org: Business as usual for Bellore, O has potential.
Oct. 16 vs. Wake Forest (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Week 1: Wake Forest 53, Presbyterian 13
Week 2: vs. Duke
Wake Forest led 35-7 at the half and cruised the rest of the way against Presbyterian out of the Big South conference. Everything clicked for the Wake run game, which rolled for 415 yards (8.3 ypc) and six touchdowns. QB Ted Stachitas got things started with a 34-yard TD run on Wake's first possession and finished with 76 yards on 10 carries.
RB Josh Harris carried six times for 74 yards (12.3 ypc) and two touchdowns. The Deacons' option offense saw five ballcarriers find the end zone, including wide receiver Devon Brown on an 85-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
While the option attack was impressive Saturday, the Deacons struggled when forced to pass. Stachitas completed seven of 13 attempts for 84 yards and three others combined to go 3-for-11 for 10 yards. The key to beating the Deacs will be stopping their option game and forcing them into long-yardage situations.
While it will help facing some form of option attack before playing Georgia Tech, Wake's option is much different than the Jackets'. Wake runs its option primarily out of the spread formation and is more of a zone-read option that Georgia Tech's flexbone-spread attack.
On defense, the Deacs held the Blue Hose to 2.1 yards per carry, but were burned through the air for nearly 300 yards. They've had to replace a lot on what was once one of the best secondaries in the ACC, but they struggled against a Presby team that did not win a game in 2009.
Blogger So Dear: Questions at QB.
Oct. 23 vs. Duke
Week 1: Duke 41, Elon 27
Week 2: at Wake Forest
Sean Renfree may make Duke fans forget about Thad Lewis after all. Renfree got off to a hot start in 2010, completing
31 of 29 passes 31 of 39 passes for 350 yards and two touchdowns to lead Duke over Elon out of the Southern Conference.
While the Blue Devil offense was able to put up big numbers through the air, its young defense also gave up 406 yards, including an alarming 6.0 yards per carry to the Phoenix ground game. If Elon's top running back can average 7.0 ypc against Duke's front seven, imagine what the 100 Proof Backfield can do.
A sign of improvement is that the Blue Devils' rushing attack was not completely inept. Desmond Scott was by far their most effective runner, carrying the ball 15 times for 77 yards (5.1 ypc) and a touchdown. Their other top back, Jay Hollingsworth, was held to 10 yards on 10 carries.
Next week we'll learn a lot more about both the Deacs and the Devils when they meet in Winston-Salem.
Blue Devil Nation: Renfree solid in opener.
Nov. 4 vs. Georgia Tech
Week 1: Georgia Tech 41, South Carolina State 10
Week 2: at Kansas
There was a lot of good and bad for Joshua Nesbitt in Georgia Tech's win over MEAC foe SC State. Nesbitt carried the ball 16 times for 130 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Jackets on the ground. However, he looked bad throwing the ball, completing one of six passes for eight yards.
SC State did a decent job on containing Anthony Allen, who had 28 yards on six carries. However, A-back Roddy Jones burned them for 45 yards and two touchdowns on four carries. It was a performance that left Paul Johnson unsatisfied heading into two road games against Kansas and North Carolina.
Al Groh's newly-instituted 3-4 defense gave up 272 yards, including 129 on the ground to SC State running back Asheton Jordan. Jordan averaged an impressive 7.2 yards per carry against the Jackets, but was unable to find the end zone. The Jacket D seemed to get its legs under it after SC State marched down the field for a field goal on its first possession.
Nov. 13 at North Carolina
Week 1: LSU 30, North Carolina 24
Week 2: Bye
A short-handed Tar Heel team put up a valiant effort against LSU, but fell just short and became the third consecutive ACC team to lose in the Chick-fil-a Kickoff Game.
A disastrous first half saw the Heels trail 30-10 into the break thanks to big plays by the Tigers' offense and special teams. Russell Shepard had a 50-yard touchdown run, Patrick Peterson returned a punt 86 yards for another touchdown and Jordan Jefferson capped LSU's scoring with a 51-yard TD pass.
It looked like it was going to be a long night for the Heels, who were without three of their four starting defensive linemen, their entire secondary, their top receiver and their top two running backs due to suspensions. However, in the second half QB T.J. Yates brought the Heels back before a pair of incompletions in the end zone gave LSU the win.
Yates was impressive in the game, completing 28 of 46 passes for 412 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He morphed into the team's leader and nearly pulled off what seemed impossible at halftime. Yates is now a dangerous quarterback and should no longer be considered a liability for the Tar Heels.
While the Heels' defense gave up a lot of big plays, they did shut out LSU in the second half. It will be interesting to see which players they get back between now and when they play the Hokies.
Carolina March: Tale of two games.
Tar Heel Fan: Take a bow, TJ.
The Fifth Corner: John Blake resigns and implications.
Nov. 20 at Miami
Week 1: Miami 45, Florida A&M 0
Week 2: at Ohio State
The Canes rolled. Jacory Harris was amazing. We'll learn more about this team next week.
Eye of the Hurricane: Canes take care of business.
Canespace: Nice little tuneup for Ohio State.
Nov. 27 vs. Virginia
Week 1: Virginia 34, Richmond 13
Week 2: at USC
UVa avoided a second consecutive season-opening defeat the hands of a CAA team and dispatched of Richmond in Mike London's first game as coach. The Spiders kicked a field goal early in the second half to pull to withing 14-13, but UVa scored the game's final 20 points.
Running back Keith Payne led the Hoos with 114 yards on 16 carries and an impressive four touchdowns. Quarterback Marc Verica managed the game well, completing 24 of 35 passes for 283 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
On defense, the UVa secondary was back to business as usual, holding Richmond QB Aaron Corp (USC transfer) to 183 yards passing and intercepted him once. However, the Hoos did give up 4.8 yards per carry, including a 70-yard touchdown run by Kendall Gaskins.
The Hoos now go on the road for a tough matchup against USC, who put up a ton of points against Hawai'i, but also saw its defensive line get pushed around in Week 1.
Dear Old UVa: Much-improved offense gives London first W.