Whether you've been watching the Hokies for years, or are an out of state freshman adjusting to life in a community obsessed with maroon and orange realizing the phrase "a drinking town with a football problem" isn't an understatement, you've probably figured out one thing. As of late we thrive the most and play our best football when we're the underdog. What's that all about anyways? I wish I knew. If I could explain it I'd: compile my findings, drive to Blacksburg and do everything I could to get five minutes of the Frankinator's time. It's frustrating though, because just like being glad, sad or mad you can't make yourself feel like an underdog. As it applies to football, a team has to prove their supporters wrong and turn them into their critics. They have to hear the negativity and doubt in order to feel insecure. Unfortunately for us losing to Boise State wasn't enough, we had to be embarrassed by James Madison to hit rock bottom.
Fortunately for us resolve is a tradition in Blacksburg.
These last two games we've been in our comfort zone. We're doing the bare minimum on offense, playing scrappy opportunistic defense and drilling three pointers. For better or worse that's Hokie football and it's successful.
On Saturday we travel Carter-Finley to play the hottest team in the ACC. Pundits and media types are lauding the Wolfpack's four and oh start, and deservedly so. But I can't help to believe while NC State eyes the bigger picture, we have them right where we want 'em.
Red zone offense, or lack there of, has been the hot topic of the week. Opponents have scored six touchdowns in six red zone trips against State. But, it's going to be tough to execute in short yardage situations with number two tight end Eric Martin (knee) out. If Nick Becton can play (turf toe) effectively, it's feasible to see Lanier lineup at tight end in those situations (tight end in high school).
State's defensive line is average, not bad, just average which to date is better than our offensive line.
Eddie Whitley is going to play, but keep an eye on how effective he will be after suffering a nasty stinger. If he goes out Exum will move to free safety, Davon Morgan will make the play calls and Fuller will be the fifth defensive back to come on the field in the Nickel and 30 packages. Against a good passing team with many interchangeable targets losing Whitley would be tough to overcome.
Russell Wilson (85/142 1,112 yards 11 touchdowns 1 interception) is in complete command of his offense. State will live and die by his arm; they are calling twice as many run plays as passes. If given ample time in the pocket or a blown coverage he will pick VT apart. State will get good matchups against Jeron Gouveia-Winslow often. Thus far, he has been Tech's weak link in coverage. Wilson is spreading the ball around well and has a very talented core of receivers (5 players with 10+ receptions, 5 players with 120+ yards and 8 players have caught touchdowns). ECU's Dominique Davis was good warm up for what the Hokie D will have to do in order to contain Wilson.
Bud will try to break State's young offensive line. If the defensive ends can't get pressure early, then watch him bring the heat with blitzes. The only way VT wins this game is if they hammer Wilson like they did last year (6 sacks '09).
VT's defense is at worst the second best State will have faced behind UCF this year. State struggled in Orlando (239 yards, 21 points), but absolutely tooled Al Groh's unit (537 yards, 38 points) at Georgia Tech last week.
The State defense gets lots of sacks. They blitz a lot from everywhere and that's linebackers coach Jon Tenuta rubbing off on the staff. Any slow developing plays are a sure loss of yards and Tyrod has to be decisive throwing the ball.
Statistics of Interest (via cfbstats.com)
Total Sacks: NC ST 14, VT 13
Total Sacks Allowed: NC ST 11, VT 7
Total Defense: NC State 39, VT 32
Turnover Margin: NC State +5, VT +1
Eric: VT 24 NC ST 21
Joe: VT 31 NC ST 23
The title of the post are lyrics from Spoon, The Underdog.