Virginia Tech Hokies (1-1) vs. East Carolina Pirates (2-0)
Time: 12 p.m. EDT
Date: Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013
Place: Greenville, Nc.
Stadium: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
(Cap: 50,000, Open: 1963, Field: Tifton 419 Hybrid Bermuda)
TV: Fox Sports 1
Radio: VT IMG, XM 190, Sirius 136
Spread: Virginia Tech -7.5
Weather: High of 75, 10 % Chance of Rain
East Carolina: The Pirates won in convincing fashion for the second week in a row, this time over the Florida Atlantic Owls 31-13. The Pirates got on the board first, just over four minutes in, with an 18-yard pass from Shane Carden to Davon Grayson. The Owls responded with two-straight field goals to make it 7-6 early in the second quarter. From that point on though, it was all ECU, as the Pirates ran off 24-unanswered points before the Owls got a score late to make the final margin 31-13. Those scores included a 1-yard scoring pass from Carden to Justin Hardy, a 7-yard Vintavious Cooper rush, a 22-yard Warren Harvey field goal and a 4-yard run by Chris Hairston. The total yardage wasn't that different, as the Pirates only out-gained the Owls 312-282, but two interceptions by the Pirates defense and long kickoff returns helped to sway the balance towards the home team. Carden was 17-25 for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running back Vintavious Cooper also had 98 yards on the ground and 49 through the air.
Trends: Virginia Tech has won their last three games against East Carolina, and nine of their last 10, including their last match up in Greenville in 2011 by the score of 17-10. Tech fell behind early on a 2-yard run by Michael Dobson, which put the Pirates up 7-0 just over six minutes into the opening frame. The Hokies' Cody Journell kicked a 39-yard field goal just before half to get within 4 points. Four quick minutes into the second half, the Hokies struck again, this time behind a 1-yard rush by Josh Oglesby to jump ahead 10-7. ECU would answer and tie it up five minutes later with a 48-yard Mike Barbour field goal. The final margin, however, was provided by Oglesby, who put it in from 10 yards for his second touchdown of the day. East Carolina was never able to put another drive together and the Hokies escaped with a 17-10 victory to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2006. Statistically, it was Logan Thomas' worst game before the Alabama game to open this season. Thomas was 8-20 for 91 yards and an interception in his second-ever start. He also ran for 67 yards on 12 carries, still one of his best rushing performances to date. As for his backfield cohorts Josh Oglesby and David Wilson, the two combined for 180 yards and two touchdowns (both by Oglesby). The offense totaled 332 total yards, 241 of which were on the ground, and limited the Pirates to -15 yards rushing and 112 total yards, both among some of the best marks in school history.
History Lesson: The following information is all provided via Hokiesports.com. Virginia Tech has played East Carolina 17 times, holding a 12-5 record against the Pirates. Beamer has faced ECU 16 times while at Virginia Tech, going 11-5. He has gone up against head coach Ruffin McNeill once (in 2011), beating him in that only match up. The Hokies also hold a 5-2 mark against ECU at Dowdy-Ficklen.
What to Expect
- The Pirates run an air raid offense.
- On defense, East Carolina runs a 3-4 scheme. This is their second year in that scheme, as they spent 2011 in the 4-3 base before McNeill opted to change it.
- The Pirates rank No. 74 nationally in total offense with 396.5 yards per game. They have scored 41.5 points per game, which ranks No. 29 in the nation.
- ECU ranks No. 21 in passing offense so far in 2013 with 324.5 yards per game through the air.
- The Pirates rank No. 119 nationally with 72 yards per game on the ground.
- Defensively, the Pirates are giving up 371 yards per game, good for No. 58 nationally. They also are ranked No. 65 in the nation in scoring defense, giving up 25.5 points per game.
- In rushing defense, East Carolina is No. 24 nationally, allowing only 97 yards per game. Through the air, they've allowed 274 yards per game, good for a No. 95 ranking in the nation.
- Shane Carden has passed for 638 yards on 63-79 passing (80 percent) with 7 touchdowns and no interceptions so far this season.
- Running back Vintavious Cooper leads the team with 133 yards on the ground, just 11 shy of the team total. Cooper has also added a touchdown.
- The Pirates top receiver is Justin Hardy, who has caught 20 balls for 227 yards and a touchdown so far.
Hokies Win If: They stop the Pirates' passing game (or at least slow it down considerably) and take care of the football.
Pirates Win If: Tech can't stop the passing game, turns the ball over and allows them to be more than one dimensional. If they get in Logan Thomas' grill often, all bets are off.
Dot-dot-dots: Frank Beamer is in sixth place all-time in wins among FBS coaches with 259. He needs 40 more to pass Joe Paterno, who now stands at 298 wins after 111 wins were vacated from his record. Individually, Logan Thomas needs just 18 passing attempts to pass Will Furrer for the most passes attempted in program history (920). He also needs only 7 more completions to tie Tyrod Taylor for the most all time in program history with 495. With the win over WCU, Thomas moved into a tie with Maurice DeShazo for fifth place all-time at Virginia Tech in wins for a quarterback with 19. He needs seven more wins to move into a tie for second place with Bryan Randall with 26 wins. Thomas also needs only 154 passing yards to pass Bryan Randall (6,508 yards) for second all-time on the Virginia Tech passing charts. Last Saturday's game against WCU marked the first time since Logan Thomas became the Hokies' starter that he failed to register a rushing attempt, a span of 28 games. Thomas is fifth all-time in rushing for Virginia Tech quarterbacks with 1,017 yards. The Hokies had no negative rushing yardage against WCU, a first under Frank Beamer. Detrick Bonner's interception return for a touchdown was the Hokies' first defensive score since the ACC Championship Game in 2010 versus Florida State, where the Hokies' Jeron Gouveia-Winslow returned a tipped-pass into the end zone. The Hokies are 1-2 all-time on September 14.