Virginia Tech's Run vs. Texas A&M's Run Defense
wasting any time this week, are we? This is "the"
battle within the war that will determine the winner
this week. On one side, you have Tech's "Untouchables",
starring true sophomore RB Kevin Jones and senior co-star
RB Lee Suggs. Their objective? Move the chains with
the help of a solid OL. Knowing well that VT's run-game
means as much to them as oxygen does to a human, A&M's
"Wrecking Crew" attempts to smother the toughest
ground game they'll face all year. Leading the Aggies
will be a trio of seniors - All-Big 12 LB Jarrod Penwright,
DE Ty Warren, and run-stopping SS Terrence Kiel. This
King Kong vs. Godzilla-like battle is too close to call,
so we're not going to bother splitting hairs.
Virginia Tech's Pass vs. Texas A&M's Pass Defense
EDGE: Texas A&M
A&M fans know it and Virginia Tech faithful won't
deny it: Virginia Tech's passing game is not a thing
of beauty. It's not something Tech Head Coach Frank
Beamer likes needing. Sophomore QB Bryon Randall may
be coming into this game as the starter, but senior
Grant Noel needs to be ready just in case the offense
needs a more experienced and poised arm. Expect to see
a good dose of both, while they attempt to spread the
ball to at least four or five different targets. Making
all this easier said than done will be one of the better
secondaries in the country. Leading the way will be
All-American CB "The Candy Man" senior Sammy
Davis, Jr., who should have no problem locking down
anyone in front of him. Also patrolling the secondary
(as well as the line) will be Terrance Kiel and super
sophomore CB Byron Jones.
Texas A&M's Run vs. Virginia Tech's Run Defense
EDGE: Virginia Tech
Texas A&M expects to win, they will have to limit
Virginia Tech's time of possession. That means picking
up positive yards on first down. With four out of five
OL-men returning and sophomore RB Derek Farmer a year
smarter, the Aggies will try to move the ball against
a fierce Hokie defense in hopes of as many third-and-short-situations
as possible. Looking to force third-and-longs will be
a "new look, same old result" front seven
that returns only two starters from last year. Junior
DEs Jim Davis and Cols Colas are the only players returning
starting from this group, but they sure aren't the only
talents. Look for those two to lead the way for a very
good Hokie front seven.
Texas A&M's Pass vs. Virginia Tech's Pass Defense
EDGE: Virginia Tech
Let's be frank
Texas A&M knows it's not a very
good passing team and it's not going to attempt to imitate
one. What the Aggies are going to have to pray for is
a couple of big plays to help out their ground game.
Knowing points will be few and far between, the passing
game will need a big play or two from senior WRs Bethel
Johnson and Jamaar Taylor. Senior wide out Greg Porter
also needs to move the chains. Regardless of who plays
for the Aggies (whether it's senior Mark Farris, sophomore
Dustin Long, or freshman sensation Reggie McNeal) they
will have the daunting task of going up against a very
good secondary. Leading the way for the Hokie's secondary
will be first year starting sophomore (and future star)
DeAngelo Hall, senior CB Ronyell Whitaker and All-Big
East senior safety Willie Pile. Look for the Hokie secondary
to maybe give up a few plays through the air, but they
won't come without a price. These high-risk, high-reward
DBs aren't afraid to "go for the throat" when
it comes to covering in open space. Look for at least
a few big plays either way.
EDGE: Virginia Tech
a game where both defenses are expected to dominate,
yards will be at a premium. Since most expect the offenses
to struggle this coming Saturday, special teams will
play a huge roll (in field position, and more). We all
know what Beamer and the Hokies bring to the table in
this area, so if A&M expects a win, they will need
a solid performance from their kicking game. The best
way to stop Virginia Tech's ground game is by lengthening
the field. Forcing Tech to drive 80 and 90 yards is
the best way for A&M to not only slow down the Hokie
offense, but also help its own. Needless to say the
pressure will be on the special teams of the Aggies
to keep them from losing this game.
know it's not exactly covered in the breakdowns, but
Kyle Field must be accounted for. The 12th man has often
allowed for past Texas A&M teams to play well over
their heads in these types of games. Combine that with
a really strong defense and that should be enough to
mean an Aggie win is not out of the question. Virginia
Tech, on the other hand, is coming in as one of the
hottest teams in the country. Look for the young-but-surprisingly-good
Hokie defense to give their offense and special teams
a chance to win the game. Bottom
line: Virginia Tech's special teams will be enough to
offset Texas A&M's 12th man.
Final Score: Virginia Tech 19 Texas A&M 14
NOTES USED ON THE AIR
Every Thursday - 10:30 am Eastern Time on KSOM
out of Atlantic, Iowa
Friday evening - out of Spokane, WA
AT IOWA STATE
COACH: Dan McCarney
Now here's a twist: Iowa State will be the higher-ranked
team when it plays Nebraska – first time
that has ever happened.
State coach Dan McCarney is 0-7 against the Cornhuskers.
victory over the Huskers would put the Cyclones
at 2-0 and, more importantly, perhaps signal a
changing of the guard in the Big 12 North (well,
for a season at least). A Husker win, especially
a lopsided one, would indicate that Dan McCarney
still has a ways to go in his rebuilding project
did a fairly decent job of containing Wallace
in last season's 48-14 win in Lincoln, but that
contest was just his fourth as the ISU starter.
the Cyclones are going to make a game of it, the
ISU defense will need to keep from putting itself
in a hole as it did against Florida State and
Iowa. The Cyclones were able to right the ship
in both games.
COACH: Frank Solich
Nebraska has had an extra week to recover from
the disaster at Penn State.
Cornhuskers' record streak of nearly 21 years
of being ranked in The Associated Press media
poll is in jeopardy after a humbling loss at Penn
The Huskers are playing their first season with
Jammal Lord as the starting quarterback. There
are also three new starters on the offensive line
and the adjustment has been slow.
The offense is averaging 343.8 yards per game,
more than 100 yards off last year's mark of 451.2.
The defense has yielded 350.5 yards per game,
also way off last year's average of 287.2. Expected
to be the strength of the team, Nebraska's defense
ranks 61st nationally heading into the Iowa State
Nebraska enters the week ranked 76th nationally
in total offense. In order to get the offense
jump-started, the Huskers might be looking to
unleash I-back Dahrran Diedrick on the Cyclones.
He'll be facing an Iowa State defense that has
had difficulty stopping the run, which leads some
to believe that this could be a breakout week
AT PENN STATE
COACH: Kirk Ferentz
beat Penn State at Happy Valley two years ago.
Fred Russell (shoulder) should play vs. Penn State
after sitting out last week. SS Bob Sanders is
still nursing a sprained foot but will try to
play this week.
Banks is improving every week. The key to Banks'
game is his ability to run the football. He ran
for 65 yards vs. Utah State and his running plays
came at big moments. When Banks and the rest of
the running game is productive, it opens up the
passing game for big plays.
defense has been consistent this season -- with
the exception of the second half vs. Iowa State.
The group appears to have depth as well as talent.
they have to show they can compete with the Big
Ten's upper-level teams.
COACH: Joe Paterno.
State was a disaster the last two seasons, but
Joe Paterno has bought them back with an offense
that has a ton of options. Start with the creativity
of Zack Mills, who doesn't have the strongest
arm in the Big Ten but is very accurate. Larry
Johnson runs with power and cuts well and WRs
Tony Johnson and Bryant Johnson are playmakers.
Nittany Lion defense is active and aware. DT Jimmy
Kennedy takes up space in the middle of the line
and DE Michael Haynes has become a solid pass
rusher. The secondary makes big plays and doesn't
give many up.