2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 1 - App. St at Virginia Tech
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Sept. 3 at Virginia Tech 66 … Appalachian State 13
CFN Analysis: After the problems in the last three season openers, this was exactly what Tech wanted going into the East Carolina game. Don't just blow off the blowout win because it came against Appalachian State; this is a FCS national title-level team the Hokies rolled over. The running game dominated with David Wilson ripping off 162 yards and three scores on just 16 carries, and the O line did a great job, but Logan Thomas missed a few too many passes completing just 9-of-19 throws for 149 yards and two touchdowns. The defense, though, was nearly flawless against the ASU spread attack, stuffing the ground game and not allowing anything early on when the game was still in doubt.
(AP) BLACKSBURG, Va. -- David Wilson, Logan Thomas and No. 13 Virginia Tech made sure Frank Beamer's 25th season as the head coach at his alma mater started off better than the last three -- with a victory.
Wilson ran for 162 yards and three touchdowns, Thomas threw the first two TD passes of his career and the defense was solid as the Hokies routed Appalachian State 66-13 on Saturday.
Wilson scored on runs of 20, 19 and 3 yards -- the first just 47 seconds into the game after Antone Exom recovered a fumble by Mountaineers quarterback DeAndre Presley at the 20. Wilson also broke off runs of 48 and 33 yards before yielding to reserves in the third quarter.
Thomas was pulled early after completing nine of 19 passes for 149 yards, with scoring throws of 7 yards to Randall Dunn and 4 yards to Jarrett Boykin. Thomas was not intercepted.
The Mountaineers, among the top-rated teams in the Championship Subdivision, arrived with what promised to be a high-powered offense led by Presley, but the multiple spread didn't fool the Hokies. Appalachian State was outgained 291-61 by halftime, before the backups took over.
Jamal Jackson, who replaced Presley, threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Brian Quick late in the third quarter, making it 52-6, and ran 15 yards for the Mountaineers' other touchdown.
Before it was over, the Hokies had their second-highest point total under Beamer, topped only by 77 points against Akron in 1995, and Appalachian State had allowed as many as 60 for only the second time. The Mountaineers lost 72-14 to Chattanooga during the 1978 season.
Presley, who last season became the 13th Division I quarterback to throw for 2,000 yards and run for 1,000 in a season, never got going. His fumble on the second offensive play didn't help, because Wilson took a pitch headed left on the next play and easily took it to the end zone.
By the time an 11-yard run by Presley gave the Mountaineers their initial first down, Cody Journell had added a 28-yard field goal and Josh Oglesby a 4-yard scoring run for the Hokies.
Wilson added his last two scoring bursts in the second quarter. The first came on the play following Jeron Gouveia-Winslow's interception and 26-yard return to the Mountaineers 19, and the second capped a 14-play, 97-yard drive highlighted by Thomas' 55-yard strike to Davis.
Thomas' second scoring pass came 1:40 into the second half, and Tony Gregory blocked Sam Martin's punt 50 seconds later. Kyle Fuller dove on the ball in the end zone, making it 52-0.
It was the 17th time in Beamer's tenure that the Hokies have scored on a blocked punt.
Backup quarterback Mark Leal added his first career touchdown pass -- a 22-yarder to Marcus Davis -- late in the third quarter. Leal hit Davis for a 63-yard score midway through the final period.
Appalachian State (0-0) at Virginia Tech (0-0)
Sept. 3, 12:30, ACC Network
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Here's The Deal … A visit from an FCS opponent is sure to revive a few bad memories in Blacksburg. It was just over a year ago that James Madison strode into Lane Stadium and shocked the college football world with a 21-16 upset. Suffice it to say that the Hokies won't be looking past their visitors, especially since Appalachian State is a perennial powerhouse out of the Southern Conference. Tech rebounded in 2010 to win its fourth ACC title in the last seven years. Defending that crown will depend heavily on how quickly sophomore Logan Thomas adjusts to being the new man behind center on a team ranked No. 13 in the preseason Coaches' poll. The Mountaineers, who made national news with their 2007 upset in the Big House, have been to the playoffs the last six years. No less than a postseason return is expected from one of this season's heavy favorites to win a fourth National Championship since 2006.
Why Appalachian State Might Win: Boone, N.C. is home to one of the Football Championship Subdivision's most exciting players, senior QB DeAndre Presley. In his first year as a regular in 2010, the dual-threat and Walter Payton Award favorite became just the fourth player in FCS history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 more in the same season. He'll get plenty of skill position support from RB Travaris Cadet and WR Brian Quick, as Appalachian State seeks to exploit a young, sophomore-laden Tech D that's going to take at least a few weeks to gel.
Why Virginia Tech Might Win: Entering 2011, head coach Jerry Moore's biggest concern at App State revolves around his defense. The same unit that was a sore spot a year ago must now move forward without leading tackler DJ Smith and current Seattle Seahawk DB Mark Legree. The Mountaineers are especially vulnerable in run defense, which the Hokies plan to exploit. Now that Darren Evans and Ryan Williams are gone, David Wilson is set to become the new leading man of the backfield. A budding star for the program, he'll have the luxury of running behind a line dominated by hard-working seniors. While Bud Foster has work to do on defense, the speed of ends James Gayle and J.R. Collins will force Presley out of the pocket on more than just designed runs.
What To Watch Out For: All eyes will be on Thomas, one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks to ever sign with the Hokies. The 6-6, 245-pounder has a high ceiling and the support of the staff, but a starting debut can come with all kinds of challenges and pressures. Although Frank Beamer won't ask his young hurler to do too much, he will want to give him a little test drive in the early going to better understand his 2011 potential. Thomas might want to be on the lookout for No. 99, Mountaineer pass rusher Lanston Tanyi, who missed all of last season with a severe foot injury.
What Will Happen: Appalachian State and Virginia Tech have played David and Goliath, respectively, before so an upset would hardly be unprecedented. However, unlike last September's meltdown, the Hokies
won't be battling Boise State five days before the
Mountaineers visit. Tech will be mentally and
physically ready to go, getting weeks to prepare to
slow down Presley. Week 1 affords it an opportunity
to unveil a new collection of stars in Blacksburg,
led by Thomas, the playmaking Wilson and a bunch of
CFN Prediction: Virginia Tech 37 … Appalachian State 20
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