Game: West Virginia Mountaineers @ Virginia Tech Hokies
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Mountaineers -2, Hokies +2
Virginia Tech faces West Virginia tonight in a primetime matchup as they try to finish off a flawless three-game home stand. In response to a 20-17 road loss to Old Dominion on Sept. 2, the Hokies (2-1) defeated Boston College and Wofford rather easily.
Hokies QB Grant Wells, a transfer from Marshall, recovered from a performance against Old Dominion in which he threw four interceptions. In Virginia Tech’s last two games, Wells has thrown three touchdown passes while avoiding an interception. Wells, who hails from West Virginia, threw for 314 yards in the Hokies’ 27-7 win over Wofford last week.
Virginia Tech converted a handful of significant third-down conversions that really boosted the offensive momentum last week. Wells also made some key completions to extend drives. He got a boost from RB Jalen Holston who scored a rushing touchdown for the second consecutive game. In last year’s loss to the Mountaineers, Holston caught a 29-yard touchdown pass for the Hokies.
West Virginia also had it rather easy last week. In facing FCS opponent Towson last week, the Mountaineers (1-2) got a solid performance from the offense, which scored on all 10 of its possessions. WVU beat Towson 65-7. Nine of those scores were touchdowns and the other was a field goal.
C.J. Donaldson, a Mountaineer freshman, scored three touchdowns, including an 82-yard sprint down the sideline. In three games this season, Donaldson has run for 274 yards and six touchdowns. Teammate Tony Mathis Jr. scored two touchdowns in the first half and finished with 104 yards on 17 carries.
Despite resting their starters and using a large portion of their bench, the Mountaineers got ahead early and did not let up. After his team amassed 624 total yards of offense, West Virginia head coach Neal Brown was both pleased and relieved. After consecutive losses by a touchdown to Pitt and Kansas, the rumblings were starting about Brown and his job in Morgantown. A poor performance against the Hokies will surely result in even more grumbling.
West Virginia has only won three of its last eight games. They have not done well on the road under Brown. The Mountaineers are 2-9 SU in their last 11 road games. WVU has not fared well against Virginia Tech either. They are 3-7 SU in their last ten games against the Hokies and 1-4 ATS in the last five played at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg.
The Hokies have struggled against the number too. In their last 14 games, Virginia Tech is only 4-10 ATS. The offense has not been all that productive. Going back to last season, the Hokies haven’t scored more than 29 points since a win over Duke in early November last season.
What the Hokies have always done well is play defense. New head coach Brent Pry, the former defensive coordinator at Penn State, is continuing that trend. The Under is 4-1 in the Hokies’ last five games and 9-3 in the last 12 at home. In the series with West Virginia, the Under is 5-2 in the last seven.
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