Time: 1:30 p.m. EDT Date: Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 Place: Blacksburg, Va. Stadium:Lane Stadium/Worsham Field (Cap: 65,632, Open: 1965, Field: Bermuda) TV: ESPN3 Radio:VT IMG, XM 195, Sirius 112 Spread: No lines are set for in games between FCS and FBS teams Weather: High of 79, 20% Chance of Rain
Western Carolina: The Catamounts lost to Middle Tennessee State last week 45-24. The Catamounts allowed the Blue Raiders 28 points to start the game before getting off the schneid with a field goal midway through the second quarter. They made it interesting before half by scoring 15-straight points to make it 31-18. But the Raiders came out of the half by blanking the Catamounts for the next 20+ minutes while scoring two touchdowns of their own and putting it out of reach. Sophomore quarterback Troy Mitchell went 7-15 for 161 yards and 2 TD's and 1 INT. Their other quarterback, Eddie Sullivan, went 12-21 for 96 yards and an INT. Shaun Warren ran for 55 yards on 13 carries to lead the team. Mitchell also ran for 38 yards on 11 carries. MTSU running back Jordan Parker ran for 156 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. MTSU quarterbacks were also 19-27 for 205 yards and a touchdown.
Trends: Virginia Tech has won their last two games against FCS opponents. Tech beat FCS Austin Peay 42-7 in Lane Stadium and Appalachian State 66-13 in 2011, but before that, lost their 2010 home opener to James Madison. Western Carolina is 0-16 against FBS teams since 2000 (as far back as I can go on their athletics site). Coach Speir (second year) has gone 0-3 in such games. They have mostly played games against the SEC, but have occasionally played ACC teams such as Duke and North Carolina State.
History Lesson: The following information is all provided via Hokiesports.com. Virginia Tech has never played Western Carolina. Beamer has also not faced WCU head coach Mark Speir. The Hokies have gone 12-1 against FCS (or previously known as I-AA) teams, with the only loss occurring to James Madison, who Beamer holds a 5-1 mark over, and an average score differential of 37-9, including the loss. BOOM! Just thought since we were saying it so much we should give you the whole truth. Beamer is 23-3 in home openers, with the only losses coming to Clemson in his first game at Tech, Boston College in 1995 and the aforementioned loss James Madison in 2010. The Hokies won their first 54 home openers before losing to George Washington 13-0 in 1948. The Hokies are 11-1-1 all-time against current Southern Conference members.
What to Expect
Offensively, the Catamounts run a variation of the spread offense. They ran the Pistol as recently as two years ago. Here's our Georgia Tech blog, From The Rumble Seat, and their take on that offense.
On defense, Western Carolina runs a 4-3 scheme. This is their first year in that scheme, as last year they were in the 3-4 base. Their defensive coordinator, Shawn Quinn, is their third in three years.
Western Carolina are running a two-quarterback system, with sophomore Troy Mitchell and redshirt-junior Eddie Sullivan, who began his career at Marshall before transferring.
The Catamounts finished the 2012 with yards of total offense, 3,693 yards or 335.7 yards per game.
The Catamounts totaled 1,857 yards of passing offense in 2012, good for 168.8 yards per game.
WCU finished with 1,836 yards of rushing offense in 2012, an average of 166.9 yards per game.
Defensively, the Catamounts gave up 5,658 yards in 2012, or 514.4 yards per game. They also gave up 40.8 points per game.
In rushing defense, the Catamounts allowed 329.4 yards per game. Through the air, they allowed 185 yards per game.
Sullivan/Mitchell started all 11 games last year and combined to go 180-318 (56.6%) for 1,841 yards and 8 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. They also combined for 707 yards rushing (4.3 ypc.) and 10 touchdowns. Mitchell and Sullivan were the team's No. 2 and No. 3 leading-rushers respectively.
The Catamounts were led in rushing by Darius Ramsey (who missed the MTSU game due to injury) with 503 yards on 111 carries (4.5 ypc.) and 2 touchdowns. No word yet if he'll be back against the Hokies.
The Catamounts' top returning receiver is Karnorris Benson, who had 19 catches for 349 yards and a touchdown in 2012. He already had a 100+ yard game against MTSU and is their best deep threat.
Hokies Win If: They show up (and not just in a physical, being-there sense).
Catamounts Win If: Tech doesn't show up and #THEMAYANSWERERIGHT!
Dot-dot-dots: Frank Beamer is in sixth place all-time in wins among FBS coaches with 258. He needs 41 more to pass Joe Paterno, who now stands at 298 wins after 111 wins were vacated from his record. Individually, Logan Thomas needs just 49 passing attempts to pass Will Furrer for the most passes attempted in program history (920). He also needs only 24 more completions to tie Tyrod Taylor for the most all time in program history with 495. With a win, Thomas would move into a tie with Maurice DeShazo for fifth place all-time at Virginia Tech in wins for a quarterback with 19. He needs eight wins to move into a tie for second place with Bryan Randall with 26 wins. Thomas also needs only 354 passing yards to pass Bryan Randall (6,508 yards) for second all-time on the Virginia Tech passing charts. Trey Edmunds 132 rushing yards against Alabama were the most for a freshman making his debut at running back under Beamer. A.J. Hughes also set a record for the Hokies last weekend (this one rather dubious). With his 586 yards on 13 punts against Alabama, Hughes surpassed the single-game punt yardage total record 0f 564 yards set by Jack Simsak in 1968, also against Alabama. The Hokies are 2-3 all-time on September 7.