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Preview: Virginia Tech Hokies vs the East Carolina Pirates

The ECU Pirates will be a challenge this year.

AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker

Are the East Carolina Pirates and the Virginia Tech Hokies rivals? It depends on who you ask, but no one can deny that the ECU Pirates have been a thorn in the Hokies side for years. This year will be no different. Here is a preview of what to expect when the Hokies play the Pirates in Lane Stadium this season.

2015 Record: 5-7

Conference Record: 3-5 AAC (American Athletic Conference)

Head Coach: Scottie Montgomery

Key Players to look out for:

Offense: WR Isaiah Jones - Just like our own wide receiver, Isaiah Ford, this Isaiah is a game changer for the ECU Pirates. He's a tall, sure handed target and caught 98 passes for over 1,000 yards and 5 touchdowns last season. Keeping this dangerous slot receiver out of the end zone will be an important key for the Hokies.

Defense: DE Fred Presley - The Pirates are transitioning to a base 3-4 front, but Presley will still be leader up front. This 6'3 270 pound beast is solid against both the run and pass. I expect the ECU Pirates to try to turn this game into a grind out, defensive battle and Fred Presley will be the one leading that effort.

Since 2011, the ECU Pirates have played the Virginia Tech Hokies 4 times and the games have been decided by a score or less every year. Last season, the Hokies grabbed a quick 14-0 lead only to fall to the Pirates in the end 35-28. In 2014, the Pirates beat Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, arguably the best home crowd advantage in all of college sports. Even when Virginia Tech won the ACC in 2008, the Pirates were able to get an upset victory.

The ECU Pirates are like that annoying little brother that follows you everywhere. The only issue is that this little brother comes out on top of the sibling rivalry sometimes and never makes it easy on you. When the Hokies play the Pirates in Lane Stadium this season, expect another slug fest.