Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers
[It's gaaaaaaame weeeeeeeek! Finally! For those of you new to the blog, the game guide is a simple, no nonsense, notes-filled introduction to the week's game. It's not exactly hard-hitting, but will have all the vital information. The What to Watch post is a more in-depth look at the matchup and usually gets posted Wednesday or Thursday for Saturday games.]
Time: 12:30 p.m. EDT
Date: Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011
Place: Blacksburg, Va.
Stadium: Lane Stadium/Worsham Field (Cap: 66,233, Open: 1965, Field: Bermuda)
TV: ACC Network
Radio: VT IMG, XM 191
Spread: VT -25 (Most books do not list lines for FBS-FCS games)
Appalachian State: In 2010, the Mountainers finished the regular season as SoCon champions at 9-2, 7-1 with losses to Georgia Southern and Florida. They were given the No. 1 seed in the FCS tournament and opened with a second-round win over Western Illinois before falling to defending champion Villanova in the quarterfinals. App State won three consecutive FCS titles from 2005 through 2007. The 2007 team opened the season with a win over FBS No. 5 Michigan. App State is currently exploring the possibility of moving up to the FBS. For Appalachian State perspective, check out AppFan.
Trends: The Hokies have not won a season opener since 2007 when they started the season with a home win over East Carolina. Since then, the Hokies have lost openers to ECU, Alabama and Boise State, all on neutral fields. Last year's loss to James Madison broke several streaks for the Hokies. It was their first loss to an FCS team since 1985, was their first loss in a home opener since 1995 and their first home loss to a non-conference foe since 1998.
History Lesson: The Hokies are 3-0 all-time against the Mountaineers. The three meetings came in a four-year span and all were played in Blacksburg. The last meeting was a 34-0 Virginia Tech win on Oct. 23, 1982.
What to Expect
- Expect a lot of points. The Hokies struggled against James Madison's zone-read option out of the pistol and against Georgia Tech's flexbone last season. I think you're going to see the Mountaineers have some success running the ball against Tech as well.
- Expect big numbers on the ground for Tech. App State's defense was 81st in FCS in terms of yards per carry last season, giving up 4.2 ypc.
- Expect mistakes. Not only is it the first game of the year, but the Hokies are very young. Twenty freshmen will dress for the opener and the Hokies' youth compares to the 2008 team that struggled out of the gate and finished the regular season 8-4.