Bowling Green vs. Virginia Tech: Complete Game Preview
For the third straight week, the Virginia Tech Hokies face an opponent they will be heavily favored against as the now unranked Hokies play host to the Bowling Green Falcons.
There will be many questions facing the Hokies on Saturday, especially concerning Bud Foster's defense. Virginia Tech gave up 537 total yards last week against Pittsburgh, including 254 rushing yards.
Bowling Green should be the perfect opponent for the Hokies as they look to get back on track.
Entering Saturday's game, the Falcons rank 95th nationally in pass defense. However, the Falcons are ranked 39th versus the run where the Hokies have struggled.
Here's a look at Saturday's game and four things to look out for:
Logan Thomas Needs to Get on Track
In the first two games of the season, Logan Thomas' performance would best be described as uneven.
Last week against Pittsburgh, Thomas had a game he hopes to soon forget.
Thomas finished Saturday's game 14 of 31 for 265 yards with three interceptions and one touchdown.
While the pass blocking was shaky at times, Thomas often forced the ball when he did have time. He missed a chance at one touchdown pass to Marcus Davis that would have gotten the Hokies back into the game.
For the season, Thomas is now completing just over 54 percent of his passes. If the Hokies are going to win the ACC, they need more from Thomas. He has been missing easy throws on a weekly basis, and it has now grown into a concern.
The Running Game
With the offensive line having four new starters, everyone knew the running game could get off to a slow start. It is hard to imagine anyone expecting the Hokies to struggle this badly running the ball.
Through three games, the Hokies have rushed for 342 yards on 99 carries. That is an average of 3.5 yards per carry. From the running backs, the Hokies have gotten 234 yards on 60 carries.
The two freshmen expected to get the majority of the carries—Michael Holmes and J.C. Coleman—have combined for just 154 yards on 45 carries. Both Holmes and Coleman have a fumble, occurring back-to-back weeks.
Bowling Green is 39th against the run in the nation. Their best player is senior defensive tackle Chris Jones. Through three games, Jones has six tackles for loss and 3 1/2 sacks.
Look for Frank Beamer to continue to give senior Martin Scales carries. Scales has impressed in limited work thus far.
The Defense Should Rebound
Bud Foster said it best last week when he referred to Pittsburgh as a "wounded animal."
The Panthers moved the ball at will against what was expected to be one of the better defensive units in the country. Struggling senior quarterback Tino Sunseri threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns.
Junior cornerback Kyle Fuller's injury early in the game played a part in the Hokies' struggles defending the pass.
The Panthers rushing for 254 yards was even more impressive. The Hokies were dominated up front by a Pittsburgh offensive line that had struggled mightily in the season's first two weeks.
Head coach Frank Beamer alluded to some of the defensive problems as freshmen struggles and the Hokies not filling the correct gaps.
Foster's group has usually always bounced back well from bad games. Look for that trend to continue Saturday. The Hokies need to build momentum on defense as the schedule begins to toughen.
Can the Hokies Bounce Back?
Bowling Green is 1-2 overall this season. In their first game, they played Florida tough before the Gators pulled away in the second half.
They are led by junior quarterback Matt Schilz who had a strong sophomore season but has had issues with turnovers thus far in 2012.
The Falcons cannot be overlooked. They will come out with confidence knowing the Hokies can be beaten by a less-talented team.
Look for the Hokies to come out aggressively on both sides of the ball. This game will not be about the Hokies attempting to establish the run early. It will be about attacking Bowling Green through the air.
Virginia Tech cannot afford a slow start and they know it. The longer you let teams like Bowling Green stay in the game, the more they believe they can beat you.
Foster will more than likely come after Schilz early and often. If the Hokies can set the tone defensively in the first quarter, they will roll over the Falcons.
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