I had to take that shot…just had to. Of course #2 is WVU, and #1 is Shepherd University. No fake. At least Shepherd wouldn’t have lost to Pitt in 2007. ZING! Low blow number two. But in all seriousness, this is the second week in a row that we’re playing a program with a rich history and national championships…1-AA National Championships…in the 90s. Marshall has an all-world wide receiver in Randy Moss…he’s gone? Ok, they have a great quarterback in Chad Pennington…he’s gone too? What? Byron Leftwich was there last time they were relevant. Is he gone too? Damn this is going to be a boring preview.
Alright…kidding aside, our Hokies enter Lane Stadium with bruised bodies and bloodied egos on Saturday afternoon. Alabama is the past. We have lock it up and move forward. Like the pain of USC 2004, Miami 2005, Georgia 2006, or LSU 2007, this game will continue to sting, but we must learn from it and move forward. Luckily we have a week to take a breath and beat up on the little guy. That’s just enough time to give Bryan Stinespring false confidence and then choke against Nebraska. Here are the keys to the game.
If the Thundering Turds expect to win, they must…
- Force turnovers early and often. The only chance they have is to make the Hokies play catch up early, which isn’t their strong suit.
- Learn how to defend the pass too. While Tyrod and Co. were close to abysmal statistically last weekend, they should be able to get the ball moving against a triple digit defensive backfield. At least a little bit.
- Pray to all that is holy that Merryman Center collapses before the Hokies enter the tunnel for Sandman. We are not UVA, and we haven’t lost to an opponent this bad in over 10 years.
If the Hokies expect to win, they must…
- Regain a little defensive confidence. Kam Chancellor must take this game to fix whatever calls he effed up in the Alabama game, because if he misses assignments against Miami, Jacory Harris will torch his ass. THIS is the game to fix the schematic problems.
- Run the damn ball. And by that I mean DOMINATE Marshall’s defensive front. They expect 8 or 9 in the box this week, but they still need to figure out a way to churn out consistent yards. I’d like to see ~200 yards to gain some confidence.
- Pass the damn ball. To the receivers…often. We have to prove that we can stretch the field for guys like Taylor and Williams to run the ball. Xavier Boyce needs to finally decide whether he wants to show up for his first collegiate game, because I certainly haven’t seen him yet.
It’s Marshall. I’m not going to break down all the stats, and even though they have a decent run defense, their defensive backfield is abysmal. They gave up 28 points to freaking Southern Illinois. They only scored 31. Ouch. If we can’t get it done against them…well…hello, Music City Bowl. There are no more excuses, and there should be no more throwing players under the bus. If the Hokies cannot move the ball on Saturday, it’s a serious play calling and preparation issue, which I put on the shoulders of the offensive coordinator. Expect Bud’s boys to come out fired up and get at least three turnovers (and at least two Worilds sacks). Don’t expect the offense to show, but don’t be shocked if they make a quick appearance.
Please God, let’s score some points.