Friday, August 29, 2008

ECU Game Guide

Virginia Tech vs. East Carolina

Time: Noon
Date: Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008
Place: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
TV: ESPN (206 DirecTV)

Last meeting: Virginia Tech won an emotional 2007 opener against the Pirates, 17-7. The pregame featured a tribute to the victims of the April 16 shooting on campus. The Hokies came out flat and trailed 7-3 after a Chris Johnson 2-yard touchdown early in the second quarter. Macho Harris returned an interception for a touchdown late in the half to give the Hokies a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Trends: Virginia Tech has won 11 of its last 12 season openers. The only loss was on a neutral field in 2004 when its fell to USC in Landover, Md. East Carolina went 1-2 against the ACC last year (losses to VT and NC State, win over UNC) and has three more ACC opponents on its 2008 schedule: VT, NC State and Virginia. The Hokies have won six in a row against the Pirates, with their last loss coming in 1992 in Greenville.

What to expect: The Hokies' offense will be out of sorts in the first half but find a groove after halftime adjustments and calming early jitters. Glennon will have time to throw and the backs will have holes to run through thanks to a superior offensive line. The defense will do a lot of bending but little breaking. They'll give up yards on the ground, but I think ECU will have a hard time scoring once it gets to the red zone.

Hokies win if: The receivers don't have too many drops, the backs find the holes and the defense forces ECU to throw against a great pass rush and the Hokie secondary. Virginia Tech has to force passing downs on third down to let the pass rush pin its ears back. Getting pressure on the quarterback on long-yardage situations will be huge.

Pirates win if: They get on the board early, force turnovers and are able to run on the Hokies. If ECU has a high third down conversion percentage, this game will be close.

Over 40 percent of Tech's travel roster has never played in a college game...the Hokies ran for 33 yards last year against ECU, its fewest in a win under Frank Beamer...last year's game was a double disaster for the offensive line, in addition to only accumulating 33 yards on the ground, they allowed four sacks.

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