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2012 Virginia Tech Football: What to Watch vs. Austin Peay

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Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0, 1-0) vs. Austin Peay Governors (0-1, 0-0)

The Hokies look to continue the good vibe from their 20-17 opening game overtime win over conference and division rival Georgia Tech on Monday. The Hokies will also be looking to eschew any thoughts of a repeat of the start to the 2010 season, in which Virginia Tech lost two games (including one to FCS James Madison) by the end of their opening week, a schedule that was constructed almost exactly as this one is. Although Tech won against Yellow Jackets, they weren't as sharp as expected against what was a rather underwhelming Georgia Tech team, very nearly losing. But a win is a win, so while that part of the 2010 first week hasn't proven true, the Hokies will have to take the Governors seriously to prevent a relapse.

The Governors however will not present the Hokies with the steepest test, as they have struggled not only against FBS teams historically, but also against teams in their own FCS Division. Proof of that would be their current four-year stretch without more than four wins in a season. As some mused this week, the Governors may in fact be the least talented team to ever come into Lane Stadium. However, even if that's the case, if there's one thing the JMU loss taught us, any team can beat any other team if that team doesn't show up.

For complete analysis of some of the most important factors, players and statistics in the matchup, continue reading after the jump.

Virginia Tech Offense vs. Austin Peay Defense

  • Austin Peay runs a 4-2-5 formation, a formation that has been gaining ground among defensive coordinators and experts, particularly with the shift towards the passing game. But again, according to the Western Kentucky blog, Topper Talk, the Governors like to stack the box with the formation to defend the run.
  • The Governors gave up 596 yards (244 on the ground 352 through the air) a week ago at Western Kentucky, hardly the most imposing team FBS has to offer. They did pick up a sack and Jeremy Ross intercepted a pass.
  • Those numbers are pretty terrible, but the Governors weren't THAT terrible a year ago. They only allowed 417 yards per game in 2011...which again, isn't as terrible as the numbers above, but would still qualify as very, very bad.
  • The Governors also only put up 10 sacks and 7 interceptions as a team a year ago. So if the Hokies' offensive line struggles against the Governors, then we'll really have reason to worry.

Virginia Tech Defense vs. Austin Peay Offense

  • The Governors run a multiple formation offense, in which no one formation is dominant over the others.
  • In their only game against FCS competition in 2011, the Hokies allowed 293 yards to Appalachian State (117 on the ground and 176 through the air) and 13 points.
  • The Hokies defense looked phenomenal against Georgia Tech for much of the game. While the Yellow Jackets used the nature of their offense (time of possession) to wear down the defense at times, the Hokies held the Jackets to their lowest offensive output of the series (since Paul Johnson arrived) with 288 total yards.
  • The Hokies also picked up 2 sacks, 9 tackles for a loss and an interception by Kyle Fuller against Georgia Tech.
  • Jack Tyler recored a career-high (at least in his COLLEGE career, as I alluded to earlier on Twitter) 17 tackles against Georgia Tech, including 7 solo tackles and a tackle for a loss, earning him the honor of ACC Linebacker of the Week.
  • Expect the Hokies to play plenty of reserves in this one, including freshmen who won't redshirt but did not see the field against Georgia Tech, like Donaldven Manning, Donovan Riley, Desmond Frye and Deon Clarke.

Watch the Box Score

  • Virginia Tech yards per carry
  • Virginia Tech sacks
  • Virginia Tech 3rd Down %
  • Austin Peay turnovers

Virginia Tech Players to Watch

  • 30- Donaldven Manning, Fr., CB
  • 4 - J.C. Coleman, Fr., RB
  • 55 - Brent Benedict, r-So. RG
  • 80 - Demetri Knowles, r-Fr., WR

Austin Peay Players to Watch

  • 12 - Wes Kitts, Sr., RB
  • 36 - Antwaun Majors, r-Sr., SS/FS
  • 18 - Devin Stark, Sr., WR
  • 16 - Jake Ryan, Sr., QB

Final Score

Virginia Tech 44, Austin Peay 3