Virginia Tech at Florida State
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008
Place: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.
TV: ABC/ESPN2 (Those in the ACC viewing area can see the game on ABC. Those in the Big Ten viewing area can see it on ESPN2. Everyone else can see it on GamePlan.)
Last Meeting: The Hokies scored 20 fourth-quarter points to beat the Noles, 40-21, in Blacksburg last season...it was Virginia Tech's first win against Florida State since 1975...Tyrod Taylor relieved an injured Sean Glennon, ran for 92 yards and a touchdown and threw for 204 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Hokies.
Trends: The Hokies are 16-2 in ACC road games and 16-0 in ACC road games that aren't against Boston College...Virginia Tech hasn't won in Tallahassee since Nov. 16, 1974, when the Hokies beat the Noles 56-21...the Noles have won three consecutive games away from Tallahassee since dropping their conference opener at home against Wake Forest...since 2006, Florida State is 9-10 against the ACC and 4-5 in home conference games.
What to Expect: On offense, the Hokies are in trouble. They faced a big team last week in BC. This week, they face a fast team in FSU.
Tech will be able to run the ball much better against the Seminoles than the Eagles. However, the Noles will be able to focus on the run game and load the box as long as the Hokies are unable to pass the ball with any success.
The inexperience and ineptitude of Virginia Tech's passing game plays right into the hands of Florida State. Its secondary is experienced and fast and will have no problem against our receivers.
I expect a repeat of our offensive performance against BC, but with more rushing yards from the backs and less from Tyrod. FSU's D will have an easier time keeping up with him than BC's.
On defense, the Hokies have to keep the big plays to a minimum against FSU wide receivers Greg Carr and Preston Parker. If they get free in the secondary early and the Hokies get down quick, it could get real ugly real soon.
Virginia Tech pounded Christian Ponder last year. But the Texan is more experienced and has played well since the Wake Forest loss.
Florida State's run game doesn't worry me as much as the its passing game. I think we'll be fine against the run. We usually are. But the blown coverages in the secondary have become a problem. And the speed Florida State has will turn those big plays into touchdowns.
On special teams, we probably won't see many booming punts from Brent Bowden. Our gunners looked like they were running in mud against BC and that was on turf. We can't out-kick our coverage against these guys. Punt and kick coverage will be very important this week. Bowden can't flip the field by himself, it takes help from the guys getting down there.
I think last year was the first time the Hokies' were ever not intimidated by spear on the side of the helmet. They came out and hit hard and played well against the Seminoles last year. However, a lot of the key players from that game are gone. I worry that the spear, the war chant and the opposing crowd may intimidate some of our younger guys. Veteran leadership will be key early on.
Hokies win if: They don't get down early, are able to establish some form of passing game, mitigate mistakes on special teams and keep FSU's big plays to a minimum.
Seminoles win if: They don't turn the ball over, get a big day from Christian Ponder and beat the Hokies like the usually do, with special teams.
Dot-dot-dots: This is Virginia Tech's first trip to Tallahassee since 1990 when it lost to the No. 2 Noles, 39-28...this is the fifth consecutive Virginia Tech-Florida State game that has been televised by either ABC or NBC...the Hokies are 2-10 against ranked Florida State teams, with the last such win coming in Tallahassee in 1968...FSU DT Budd Thacker's dad, Doug, played for the Hokies in the '70s and was a team captain in 1975.