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VA Tech vs. Austin Peay—Recover & Refocus

Posted By Frank Sullivan On Sep 6 2012 @ 1:51 pm In Virginia Tech | No Comments

After narrowly escaping their home opener against Georgia Tech on Monday night 20-17 in OT, Virginia Tech will play their second game of the season only five days later.   This should be reminiscent to most Hokie fans, the team had the same schedule in 2010 when they fell to Boise State on the Monday night opener, then followed that up with a loss to FCS school and I-81 neighbor, James Madison.  Have the Hokies learned their lesson from that loss two years ago?  Or, is this going to be deja vu all over again for the team and fans alike?

Austin Peay, a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, has only played against a top 25 team once in their history: losing to then #10 Wisconsin 70-3.  So that bodes well for the Hokies.  But Saturday’s game won’t be about Austin Peay and how they match up with VT, it will be about how well the Hokies can prepare, recover, and maintain focus after such a draining opener against their biggest division rival.

Emphasis on: recover.

The Hokies got beat up against GT.  The Jacket’s triple-option attack can punish defenders and wear down even the toughest defenses.  With only five days to lick their wounds the Hokies will likely go deep into their depth chart on both offense and defense to ensure both health and energy are kept in check.

In case you were curious, this is Austin Peay's mascot, The Governor

Speaking of health, the Hokies lost senior receiver D.J. Coles for the rest of the season to a knee injury, the same knee Coles had injured the past two years.  The offense struggled to find rhythm in the passing game throughout the Georgia Tech game, with Coles out for the year it will be up to Logan Thomas to connect with his new receiver corps.

Senior receivers Marcus Davis and Dyrell Roberts will likely start against Austin Peay.  They have the most experience in the offense and should help Thomas settle in early; Roberts had only two catches for five yards Monday night while Davis had six for 82 yards.  Other players to watch against AP are speedy redshirt freshman Demirti Knowles, who scored on his first reception as a Hokie (a 42-yard bomb), and senior transfer Correy Fuller (brother of All-ACC corner Kyle Fuller) who had a great game against GT.  Fuller caught five balls for 82 yards, kept the game alive for the Hokies with a 23-yard catch on fourth down late in the fourth quarter, and recovered a fumble earlier in the game.

Austin Peay is coming off a 49-10 loss at Western Kentucky (not exactly a power program) in which they could only amass 154 yard of total offense (68 of which came on one play).  Yes, this game should be a very winnable game for VT; yes I expect it to be over midway through the second quarter; but I’ll be watching to see how the team responds after a short week, how well Logan Thomas bounces back after a sub-par performance, which receivers will step up, and whether or not the rebuilt offensive line can work in congress to get the running game going.

Prediction: VT 55 – AP 7


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