This may just be the shortest game preview we've ever done here at TSF. This Marshall team that the Hokies are going to face is the worst team they will play all year. Yes, even worse than Appalachian State - who I still think is a good team that was just overwhelmed by the moment against Tech. I will admit from what I've seen in watching Marshall highlights from games this season, that they have some decent athletes. For example, there is speed in the backfield in true freshman QB Rakeem Cato and RB Tron Martinez along with another true freshman RB Travon Van who was a University of Florida recruit until academics got in the way. Now, now, Hokie Respect prevents us from making any jokes regarding the academic credentials of our esteemed opponent this week. So there will be no comments of any kind about what did the Marshall graduate say to the Virginia Tech graduate? (do you want fries with that?) Ok, I digress.
Despite talent in a few places on offense and also at defensive end, Marshall appears to be far less disciplined than Arkansas State. Their offensive line has been overpowered in every game and the QB is a true freshman who doesn't always know where to go with the ball. Uh-oh.
They have had busts on the offensive and defensive side of the ball with some regularity this season leading to lots of big plays for their opponent. The only team they've beaten was Southern Miss and in that game Southern Miss out-idioted them. Now Marshall's troubles could be inexperience, or they could be poor coaching, only time will answer which it is, but regardless of the reason, Marshall is just not going to line up and beat Virginia Tech down. If the game is close, or if Marshall wants to win, it is going to have to be because the Hokies will have played the least focused game of their lives. They'd have to have penalties like against ECU, the lack of offensive line push as in the Arkansas State game, they'd have to go bring back Sean Glennon from the 4th quarter of the 2006 Chik-Fil-A Bowl to take all the snaps at QB and put Bryan Stinespring back up into the box to call the plays. Bud Foster would need to be landed on by the paratrooper coming in before the game and Coach Beamer would have had to take several hits of nitrous oxide both before the game and during halftime.
Let's review the stats as to why I would throw around such tomfoolery:
The Hokies are #8 in the nation in scoring defense, #4 in rush defense, #25 in pass defense and #8 in total defense. They are also #4 in time of possession on offense (my goodness when was the last time the Hokies were rated this high in time of possession? EVER?!). Marshall is #107 in scoring offense, #94 in rush offense, #90 in pass offense and #105 in total offense. They are #58 in turnover margin and #110 in time of possession. And that's the week AFTER playing Ohio.....
Of course, having seen all these shenanigans...
"I will pistol whip the next guy that says "shenanigans"
... one could be forgiven for thinking - "
well the Hokies can sleepwalk through this one". The answer to that is ABSOLUTELY NOT. Even forgetting the game-that-shall-not-be-named from last season, this game is an opportunity for the team to get better and they'd better take advantage of it. In the end it's still a road game and good experience for the younger players. There is so much the Hokies have to work on from the first three games that if they let this slip past, not only could they still lose the game but even if they win ugly they will not be going into the ACC slate on a good note. As we saw last year, a football season can be all about momentum. It's pretty evident which teams play with it and which ones don't. And a 17-14 win on Saturday isn't what Superfans are looking for in this game. I don't know what type of score is acceptable but I'll know it if I see one that isn't.