After a dominant win over Florida State Monday night, Virginia Tech returns to the field for their home opener as the 12th-ranked team in the country and ACC Coastal favorites. The Hokies will face a William & Mary team looking to shock the world despite the fact that they are more than 40-point underdogs.
While the Hokies are expected to comfortably win this game, Virginia Tech fans know well that VT can't afford to overlook any opponent. With that said, here are our picks for the Hokies' home opener against William & Mary.
Justin Fuente is 6-0 all-time as a head coach on a short week, and the Hokies are poised to make that 7-0 Saturday against a William & Mary team that went 2-9 last season. The Tribe shouldn't be overlooked though as they beat Bucknell 14-7 in their opener and are likely inspired to play for longtime head coach Jimmye Laycock who will be retiring at the end of his 39th season at the helm of the Tribe.
However, this game is set up to be a blowout where we will likely see backups dominate the second half of this game for Virginia Tech. This game does present an opportunity for the Hokies to build some offensive consistency that they lacked against Florida State without the pressure of facing a highly-ranked opponent like they will when they host Notre Dame in early October.
Virginia Tech's defense impressed Monday night, but there were a couple moments of confusion. Expect Bud Foster to try to make sure things go even smoother with his young, hard-working defense.
Don't be surprised to see plenty of freshmen against William & Mary, many of whom are likely to redshirt but will take advantage of the new four-game redshirt rule including Quincy Patterson and Cole Beck.
While the weather may keep the scoring down, expect the Hokies to cruise to victory with a dominant performance against the Tribe.
Prediction: #12 Virginia Tech 38, William & Mary 7
Football finally returns to Blacksburg as the Hokies play their home opener against William and Mary this weekend. Coming off a dominant 24-3 win over No. 19 Florida State, Virginia Tech fans should be excited to see their team in action at home for the first time this season. FCS foes don't always put up the biggest fight, but don't expect the Hokies to overlook the Tribe. Head coach Justin Fuente spoke earlier this week about the job that Jimmye Laycock has done at W&M and said that the Tribe is a sound football team.
The last time these two teams met was in 2014, a 34-9 victory for Virginia Tech. This weekend's matchup shouldn't be much different as the Hokies haven't had a whole lot of trouble with FCS teams in recent years. Virginia Tech should be able to use this opportunity to work out any kinks in their game before facing tougher opponents later in the season. The Tribe have the ability to make it interesting, but ultimately the Hokies will run away with this one.
Prediction: #12 Virginia Tech 35, William & Mary 6
Another week, another week to go 1-0. The Hokies are coming off a great win on Monday night, but a short week could present some problems. Short weeks have not been good to the Hokies in the past, see JMU for instance. However, I don't think this year's squad will suffer from the Seminole Hangover, and will come out ready to play.
The Hokies opponent is a scrappy William & Mary team playing for a retiring coach. Needless to say, they are going to be playing like their hair is on fire to get their coach a signature win in his final season. The Hokies are going to have to be focused and ready in order to keep this from happening.
Look for the young defense to be ready to go and show improvement in this game. Josh Jackson and company on the offensive side will look to take steps forward as well against an inferior opponent. Look for the offense to take advantage of great field position this week as I’m sure it was a point of emphasis this week in practice.
I look for the Hokies to pounce early and put this one out of reach by halftime. Final score: Hokies 55 William and Mary 10. LETS GO HOKIES!!!!!
Prediction: #12 Virginia Tech 55, William & Mary 10
Justin Fuente and Bud Foster’s work in week one was highly impressive. Despite only returning two starters defensively, Virginia Tech was able to dominate on defense, forcing 5 turnovers and giving up just three points. On the offensive side of the ball, Virginia Tech was solid with no turnovers, good play from the receiving core, and a formidable rushing attack. The game couldn’t have gone any better for Fuente and this young Hokies team.
As impressive as week one was, it would be even more impressive on Fuente’s part if Virginia Tech comes out firing against William and Mary. The Hokies only had four days to recover from their almost perfect performance against Florida State, which means they did not have much time to celebrate. For a team full of underclassmen and first year starters, moving on from FSU to an inferior FCS opponent in such a short time period can be a tough task.
Look at last year’s team; after beating West Virginia, Virginia Tech put up a sub-par performance against Delaware the following week. That day, the Hokies gained just 303 yards on the day, running for a lousy 81 yards.
Against the Seminoles, Virginia Tech looked like a team that had taken a big step forward from 2017. If that’s truly the case, Virginia Tech will show it with a strong performance on Saturday. This will be a big test to the Hokies' maturity and discipline, as it can be very tempting to overlook a team like William & Mary.
Despite a solid performance, Josh Jackson still has something to prove. This week, he will do a little more throwing, as this game is a good chance for Jackson and his receivers to improve their chemistry. While Cornelsen will not want to reveal too much, he will need to try to develop the Hokies' passing attack. More and more reps are going to be crucial for Jackson, especially in a live game situation. The time will come where Jackson will have to win the game as opposed to not lose it.
On paper, Virginia Tech should dominate this game defensively. However, football is not a math test; rather, it is a game of aggression, intensity, and discipline. It will be interesting to see if Virginia Tech can exhibit those three things for a second week in a row, and for the second time in just five days. If not, William & Mary could surprise a lot of the Maroon and Orange faithful in the crowd. One thing that is sure is that the Virginia Tech defense has a chance to prove week one wasn’t an anomaly.
I think Virginia Tech may come out slow, and the first half may surprise some folks. However, Jackson will get his passing game working, and the running game will be well established. At the worst, Virginia Tech’s defense will figure it out by the second half as William & Mary is a team Tech should easily take care of.
Prediction: #12 Virginia Tech 38, William & Mary 7
I think it should be a blowout. Virginia Tech plays well, but W&M gets a field goal. The defense will hold down the fort while Jackson and the offense light up the scoreboard. Caleb Farley gets another interception, his third in 2 games. 38-3 Hokies win
Prediction: #12 Virginia Tech 38, William & Mary 3
After a statement win against an FSU team that features one of the nation's best quarterbacks, the Hokies are back Saturday afternoon with their home opener against William & Mary. Josh Jackson will likely have a field day with the group of talented receivers around him and a solid running game to take some pressure off him. The Tribe, in all due respect, unlikely have what it takes defensively to match up against the Hokies offense.
On the other side of the ball, the Hokie defense is coming off a monstrous game where they held the FSU Seminoles to only 3 points. Trevon Hill and Jarrod Hewitt looked unblockable Monday and will probably continue reeking havoc this Saturday. The W&M offensive line will have a difficult task handling this explosive defensive line.
The defensive backs for the Hokies are young but Bud Foster has once again showed why he is arguably the best defensive coordinator in the country. The Hokies DBs came away last game with two interceptions last game via Caleb Farley and I think they will get even more takeaways against W&M. I get a sense Caleb Farley will have another big game.
Prediction: #12 Virginia Tech 45, William & Mary 10
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
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