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Virginia Tech's Trey Edmunds (14) is stopped after a gain of one-yard by East Carolina's Damon Magazu (11) and Desi Brown (23) at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, N.C., Saturday.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
OFFENSE: EDGE THUNDERING HERD
Marshall QB Rakeem Cato leads one of the better offenses in the country, having thrown for 849 yards and seven touchdowns this year. But the Herd isn't one dimensional. It's averaging 312.7 passing yards per game and 214.7 rushing yards. Marshall will push the pace if it can. After averaging a nation's-best 90.5 plays per game last year it has run 247 plays in three games. Tech will try to control the clock. The Hokies used their short passing game last week to rack up nearly 37 minutes in possession time vs. ECU. QB Logan Thomas completed 25 passes for 258 yds. and 2 TDs. Tech needs to give RB Trey Edmunds (21 carries, 42 yards last week) room to operate.
DEFENSE: EDGE HOKIES
Tech's defense comes in flying high, holding East Carolina's up-tempo attack to 204 yards, registering seven sacks, forcing three turnovers and finishing the game off with a safety. That's five straight games dating back to last year in which the Hokies have held their opponent to 217 yards or fewer. Freshman cornerback Brandon Facyson has three picks this year. After giving up 456.8 yards and 43.1 points per game last year, Marshall's defense has made strides. The Herd ranks fifth nationally in total defense but has been especially good against the run, allowing 67.0 yards per game and 1.8 yards a carry.
SPECIAL TEAMS: EDGE PUSH
Marshall has an OK kicker in Justin Haig, mediocre punting and average return teams that did it no favors by giving up a TD off a muffed punt against Ohio last week. All that would seem to give Tech an edge if not for kicker Cody Journell's struggles. Against ECU, the senior missed an extra point and two FGs and was bailed out on another miss by a penalty. He said the problems were physical, but those can become mental quickly.
INTANGIBLES: EDGE HOKIES
The weather might be rainy, which could slow down Marshall's pace. DC Bud Foster has slowed Cato before. Two years ago at Marshall the Hokies harassed the then-freshman for five sacks, holding him to 17-for-33 passing for 245 yards in a 30-10 Tech win.
PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 24, Marshall 20
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