Delaware at #18 Virginia Tech By The Numbers Preview

After getting a big win over West Virginia, Virginia Tech returns to Blacksburg for their home opener against Delaware. The Blue Hens will look to shock the world, but it would take one of the biggest upsets in college football history to do so.

With that said, let’s take a look at some of the important numbers to know for Saturday’s game.

0: The number of losing seasons Danny Rocco has had as a head coach.

Danny Rocco left Richmond this offseason to take the Delaware job after a 43-22 tenure over five seasons including back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2015 and 2016. Before that, Rocco went 47-20 in six seasons at Liberty, helping that program start to take off. He’s also a big reason why the Flames are heading to FBS after proving that Liberty could be a winning FCS program.

Rocco has built some very good programs and has always found ways to succeed. Rocco has some work ahead with the Blue Hens, but he is one of the best coaches at the FCS level and will have his team ready to play. However, Rocco’s Blue Hens have an immense challenge ahead of them to say the least.

4: The number of Hokies who had at least 8 carries against West Virginia.

Virginia Tech went with their RB by-committee system with 3 running backs plus Josh Jackson all having at least 8 carries. While the Hokies struggled on the ground last season, the running game was solid Saturday night with the Hokies averaging 5.2 yards per carry led by Josh Jackson’s 11 carries for 101 yards and a TD.

However, it wasn’t only Josh Jackson, but Deshawn McClease, Travon McMillian, and Steven Peoples all had over 30 yards rushing. McClease, in particular, was impressive Sunday night with 8 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown. Jalen Holston didn’t gain a single carry on Sunday, but the true freshman seems likely to play some as all four RBs should get a fairly even amount of work though Peoples may have a light load after getting a little banged up Sunday.

86: The number of tackles former Virginia Tech LB and Delaware defensive coordinator Chris Cosh had in 1979 to lead the Hokies.

Delaware DC Chris Cosh is coming home this weekend for the first time in about a decade to face the Hokies in Lane Stadium. Cosh was the Hokies’ leading tackler in 1979 and started his coaching career as a graduate assistant for Bill Dooley in 1983.

For Cosh, this has to be an exciting trip to come back to Virginia Tech where he shined in college and started his coaching career.

31: Number of yards James Clark averaged per kick return against West Virginia.

James Clark didn’t play much on offense Sunday, but he was impressive on special teams as one of the best kick returners in America last week. Clark averaged 31 yards per kick return, an average that was in the top 10 among kick returners who did not return a kickoff for a touchdown, though Clark did come close.

It’s only a matter of time before Clark returns a kick for a touchdown and that could be this week against Delaware. Clark is a dynamic returner that has the abilities to flip the momentum of a game on a kickoff as he did with his 43-yard return against West Virginia. Clark is a dynamic weapon on special teams

15.7: Average yards per completion against West Virginia.

Josh Jackson was able to push the ball down the field against West Virginia especially in the second half with Jackson having multiple pass plays that went for 25+ yards. Cam Phillips had a particularly big day with 138 yards and a TD on 7 receptions, averaging 19.7 yards per reception.

Jackson’s passing success was due largely to some smart decisions and a great job by Jackson of going through his reads. Brad Cornelsen also called some very good pass plays including the fake screen that worked about as well as any pass play I’ve ever seen and had Sean Savoy celebrating as the ball was thrown. Virginia Tech showed Sunday night that they’ll be able to push the ball down the field with Jackson especially in the second half.

100%: The percent of touchbacks Joey Slye has had this season.

Joey Slye had touchbacks on all six of his kickoffs Sunday. While Slye could put more height on a kick to try to get teams to start with worse field position than their own 25, consistently having teams start on their own 25 is much better than giving a returner a chance to make a big play happen.

Will Slye have a 100% touchback-per-kickoff rate this year? Probably not, but he’s definitely has the leg to do so.

4725: The number of days Virginia Tech will have held the Black Diamond Trophy at kickoff.

4669: The number of days Virginia Tech will have held the Commonwealth Cup at kickoff.

Why include these two numbers? Because Virginia Tech has earned it.

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