Well, this is certainly an interesting place to find ones' self. For the first time since I can remember (at least 10 years) I have to write a game preview for an upcoming game, without having watched the footage of the Hokies' previous game. Yes, as a recap to those of you who don't know, this season I am recording the Hokie games and then after the game is over, if it's a loss, I won't watch the game. From all the gnashing of teeth I saw on the intertubes this week, I think this decision has served me very well in not watching the loss to a subpar Pittsburgh squad. I can't imagine how the Hokies lost that game, but it was apparently turnover fever on offense, and the defense couldn't stop the run. My heart and liver will take your word for that, HokieNation.
So without the appropriate context on how the Hokies could have possible lost that game, I will certainly be avoiding any predictions as the Hokies face the mighty Falcons of Bowling Green. Let me assure you, my Calm and Beloved Reader, of two things first:
1) I don't care how badly he played against Pittsburgh, Logan Thomas is an NFL QB, so do not give up on him. I have definitely watched enough of his games to know what he is capable of and he could have had the worst game in the history of football last Saturday and I would still say that.
2) You would not want to play on defense for Virginia Tech this week in practice. I shudder to imagine the torturous, violent level of intensity that accompanied every drill and every rep for those players suffering the wrath of Bud Foster. I may not have watched the game, but I watched Pittsburgh's earlier games, and they were not 2007 LSU (which was the last time the Hokies gave up that kind of yardage on defense). I am certain that any craps that the Hokies' defenders took during the week had Foster's footprints on them, as far up their ass as he must have been with his boot.
So having gotten over those two things, let's take a look at how the Hokies matchup on paper against this week's opponent, Bowling Green.
VT Offense vs. Bowling Green Defense
Hmmmm. The Falcons are 99th in the nation against the pass but a stout 41st in the nation against the run including a stifling performance in a loss against the Florida Gators. The Hokies have given me exactly zero reason to think they can successfully run the football, considering the struggles against Austin Peay. So this is a game where I hope to see Logan shake off whatever is ailing him and deliver the ball to the weapons on the outside and rack up major yards and touchdowns. If the offensive line can pass block, which they have done a decent job of in the games I've watched, I think this is the best chance for Tech's success. LG David Wang being out with an ankle could cause some problems but Mike Via and Matt Arkema are both suitable replacements in terms of pass protection. There's a chance to make some hay in the air.
VT Defense vs. Bowling Green Offense
This is where I expect the game to turn. I highly doubt the Falcons will score more than 10 pts on this defense, and if they do, don't be surprised to see Foster strap up the helmet and pads next week during practice to demonstrate the level of intensity and technique he demands. Bowling Green has struggled mightily on the ground and in the air and I believe that is a result of starting two freshmen on the offensive line. They are still finding their rhythm to put it kindly. Even with a dinged up Kyle Fuller, Bruce Taylor and the return of a stiff Tariq Edwards, the Tech defense ought to be able to throw a lot of confusing looks at this Falcon offense. And with their amplifiers set on 11, I fully expect the stout Hokie defensive line to mow over these linemen. Coach Wiles is surely hopping these guys up this week on a steady diet of raw meat and shame.
The Hokies also have the edge in special teams. Bowling Green has made a grand total of one FG on the season out of four attempts and while their punting is decent at 43.1 yds/kick, their punt coverage is 104th in the nation, against VT's 4th best punt return unit. That is a recipe for losing the field position battle to Tech. Hopefully we see the Falcon punter a whole lot on Saturday.
So again this week, I return to something Coach Beamer the Elder said earlier this season preparing to play Austin Peay - "It's not about what's supposed to happen, it's about what does happen." Surely the Hokies have more talent than Bowling Green and their defense is going to be as motivated as humanly possible. But it probably comes down to if the offense can score more than 10 points against the Falcons. One would like to think so, but then I would have loved to watch this past weekend's game against Pittsburgh. Wishing it don't make it so.