BLACKSBURG, Va. –
Who: Bowling Green at Virginia Tech
What: The Hokies’ annual military appreciation game.
Where: Lane Stadium
Why: The Hokies look to bounce back from an embarrassing 35-17 loss at Pittsburgh, that saw their vaunted defense pushed around by the Panthers.
Four things to watch for
First down: Will the defense shrug off Saturday’s pitiful performance against Pitt?
It’s not often that a Virginia Tech defense gets pushed around, but that’s what happened Saturday at Heinz Field. The Panthers racked up over 500 yards of total offense, freshman tailback Rushel Shell ran for 154 yards and Ray Graham added 94 rushing yards and a pair of scores. Shell became the second straight back to hit the century mark against a Hokies’ defense that had aspirations of being the top unit in the nation.
Bowling Green should be a team that Tech’s defensive line can dominate. Now, will it be?
Second down: Can Tech get its running game going?
The duo of redshirt freshman Michael Holmes and true freshman J.C. Coleman have done some good things early this season, but haven’t been able to consistently churn out yards or break any long runs.
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said this week the team is considering changing up the tailback rotation, which could mean more carries for junior Tony Gregory and senior Martin Scales.
Third down: How will the offensive line perform with guard David Wang out of the lineup?
The problem for whoever plays tailback, and for quarterback Logan Thomas, is that the already questionable offensive line, which struggled mightily at Pittsburgh, will be without starting left guard David Wang, who suffered a sprained ankle in the loss to the Panthers. Beamer said Friday that sophomore Matt Arkema will start in Wang’s place. Sophomore Brent Benedict will start at right guard and senior Michael Via, who had been rotating with Benedict, will be the backup at both spots and should team at both.
Fourth down: Will the Hokies’ injured defenders be able to contribute?
Junior cornerback Kyle Fuller, who suffered a shoulder injury in the loss to Pittsburgh, practiced this week and was listed as probable for today’s game. But Fuller said the pain in his shoulder made it hard for him to get his shoulder pads over his head on Saturday. It remains to be seen how healthy he is.
And linebacker Tariq Edwards, who will dress for the first time this season after two offseason leg surgeries to correct a stress fracture, took part in some contact drills this week. Beamer said it hasn’t been decided if Edwards will play any against Bowling Green.