The last time Virginia Tech opened the season on a Monday night and played a I-AA team the following Saturday, the Hokies lost to JMU. My apologies for that reminder, but that won't happen again. Austin Peay is not a I-AA powerhouse, moreover they're not a competitive I-AA team. In their preseason poll, the Ohio Valley's coaches and sports information directors predicted the Govs would finish last in the conference. Last week Peay lost to Western Kentucky 10-49. In 2011 they lost at Cincinnati 10-72, and at Memphis (who went 2-10 themselves) 6-27. Wisconsin hung 70 on them in 2010. Peay's won just five of 22 games over the last two seasons.
Austin Peay threw for just 11 yards against WKU (164 total). Peay's QB Jake Ryan has started 25 games and over his career he's completed 292 of 602 passes for 3,202 yards 20 TDs and 37 (!!!) picks.
Peay's trying to replace three veteran starters on the offensive line. The group combined to return 38 career starts, but struggled to protect Jake Ryan against WKU.
Peay runs a 4-2-5 defense.
On the Defensive side of the ball the Governors like to stack to box and stop the run. They run a basic 4-2-5 defensive alignment. Sometimes employing as many as 8 men in the box, this is a game where Jakes is going to have to make the defense pay for keeping so many men near the line of scrimmage. Peay is led by Sr Safety Antwaun Majors who led the team with 88 tackles in 2011.
Austin Peay wide receivers coach Marcus Gildersleeve played wide receiver at Tech from 1996-98.
Chase Williams will start at backer in place of Bruce Taylor (ankle). The coaches have always been high on Chase's potential, but he flew under the radar during August. I'm excited to see what he can do. Tariq Edwards is out again this week because of his knee. Had he been 100%, this would have been the perfect game to test it. Antoine Hopkins and Luther Maddy (ankles) were both listed as questionable on the injury report.
Peay running back Wes Kitts will be the playmaker the Hokies need to stop. He rushed for over 100 yards, and busted off a 68-yard run against WKU. Running back / slot receiver Terrence Oliver will also get touches. He lead Peay with 12 carries last week. Devin Stark was Peay's leading receiver in 2011. Last year he caught 53 balls, for 627 yards, and 7 scores.
Dadi Nicolas will also dress for the first time tomorrow. Nicolas was working his way into some playing time during spring, but was suspended since the end of June and missed camp. However, he's behind the curve now. Said Wiles upon his return to practice on 8/30, "I bet he thinks we were talking Chinese in there." However, he has the speed and body type to be a contributor on punt block.
After this game is over, I hope three things have happened: 1) Tech wins; 2) The inexperienced players at the thin positions see the field early and often; 3) No one gets injured.