NORFOLK, Va. – Following an unexpected bye week, No. 10 Virginia Tech returns to action Saturday against host Old Dominion, which is 0-3 for the first time since reinstating its program in 2009. Virginia Tech opened the season with victories over Florida State and William & Mary before having last Saturday’s game against East Carolina canceled due to Hurricane Florence.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network. LINE: Virginia Tech -27.5
The week off gave several injured players extra time to heal, including offensive lineman Christian Darrisaw and defensive lineman Ricky Walker, who had 41 tackles last season and attended high school near Old Dominion. Quarterback Josh Jackson is 28-of-42 for 424 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions through two games for the Hokies, who need to be careful not to overlook the Monarchs before facing Duke and Notre Dame in the next two weeks. “We are not in any situation to do anything other than focus on our next step,” coach Justin Fuente told reporters. “We’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for the team we’re about to play, the fact we’re playing in our home state, there is no reason for us to have our attention on anything other than our next step.” Jackson threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns in last season’s 38-0 win over the Monarchs.
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (2-0)
Reggie Floyd had 16 tackles to lead the stellar Hokies defense, which limited William & Mary to 34 rushing yards on 29 carries after holding Florida State to 94 yards on 28 attempts in the opener. The Hokies are averaging 208.5 rushing yards through two games and figure to rely again on senior tailback Steven Peoples, who scored three TDs in last season’s win over Old Dominion. The strong receiving group includes Eric Kumah, Hezekiah Grimsley and Damon Hazelton, who had four receptions for 107 yards and caught a 39-yard scoring pass in the 62-17 win over William & Mary on Sept. 8.
ABOUT OLD DOMINION (0-3)
The Monarchs average 18.3 points per game, 3.7 yards per rush and have converted 28 percent of their third downs in losses to Liberty (52-10), Florida International (28-20) and Charlotte (28-25). Old Dominion is giving up the most yards per game (484.5) in Conference USA and needs to find help for defensive end Oshane Ximines and linebacker Lawrence Garner, who leads the FBS with 14 tackles per game. The team boasts a trio of veteran receivers in Jonathan Duhart, Travis Fulgham and Isaiah Harper, but quarterback Stevie Williams has struggled early with two TD passes and an equal number of interceptions.
1. Virginia Tech is 19-0 under Fuente when leading at halftime, including a 9-0 mark last season.
2. This is the second game in a series that will see the two teams play 13 times in the next 14 years.
3. Virginia Tech is 66-1 when holding non-conference foes to 17 points or fewer since Bud Foster took over as defensive coordinator in 1996.
PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 56, Old Dominion 13