Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
After picking up a big win at Miami, Virginia Tech looks to build on their momentum as they take on a Rhode Island team looking to shock the world and pull off one of the biggest upsets of the year. So will the Hokies take care of business or will Rhode Island shock the upset?
Check out all of our pregame coverage below followed by our staff's picks for today's game between the Hokies and Rams.
- 5 Things to Watch (By Grant Atkinson)
- Keys to the Game (By Mike McDaniel)
- Opposing 5 Breakdown of Rhode Island (With Will Geoghegan)
- Inside The Lunch Pail Mailbag 10/9/19 (By Tim Thomas)
- VT Football Game Notes (By Tim Thomas)
- A Look at Oscar Bradburn's Breakout Season (By Grant Atkinson)
There may be some fears about this game after the near upset by Furman earlier this season, but this shouldn't be a close game between Virginia Tech and Rhode Island. The Hokies' offense appears to have some life with Hendon Hooker at the helm while the Rams are not nearly as good as a Furman team that could be one of the 8 national seeds in the FCS playoffs.
Now the Rams do have a pair of really good receivers to highlight an intriguing passing attack, but Caleb Farley and Jermaine Waller have shown legitimate improvement and will put together strong performances in this game. Additionally, the Hokies will take advantage of an FCS level offensive line and get plenty of pressure on Rhode Island in a game that will only build confidence ahead of an important game against North Carolina.
Meanwhile, the Hokies' offense has new life with Hendon Hooker at the helm and will be ready to put up a strong offensive showing. Expect a big game on the ground as VT faces a Rhode Island rush defense that has struggled mightily this season, and likely will have issues with the pairing of Hooker at QB to go with Keshawn King and Deshawn McClease.
This game won't be close at all as the Hokies will put together the type of dominant performance that you would expect from Virginia Tech against a middling FCS team.
Pick: Virginia Tech 45, Rhode Island 10
The Hokies got a much needed win last Saturday, and they are looking to carry that momentum into this weekend. Still, let’s not forget that the last time Virginia Tech played an FCS team this season, they needed a second half comeback to avoid the unspeakable.
I do think the Hokies are in a better place than they were three weeks ago, so I hope they show that on the field. I’m sure the fans are looking for more of a lopsided game to help build confidence, and I think that would be a big step for Virginia Tech.
Rhode Island has struggled this year, but they do have two elite receivers in Aaron Parker and Isaiah Coulter. For that reason, I won’t be surprised if they move the ball well through the air.
In the end, I still think the Hokies are far too much for the Rams to handle. If Hendon Hooker can keep the offense moving like he did last week, Virginia Tech should be in good shape.
Pick: Virginia Tech 38, Rhode Island 14
After coming off the biggest win of the season for the Hokies, they return back to Blacksburg to take on Rhode Island in a very unique schedule compared to the past. Virginia Tech is coming off an offensive shootout with ACC Coastal rival, Miami in a major road victory to put their name back in ACC Coastal title conversations. It will be interesting to see how the Hokies come into this game as it is a major shift to have an FCS opponent slated in the middle of the ACC schedule, and what Virginia Tech team we will see show up.
For Virginia Tech, the big impact of the game against Miami was their ability to jump out to an early lead by creating turnovers and giving their offense a short field to work with. If the Hokies want a similar start, they are going to have to go for the Rams early and often to create momentum off of the turnovers. Hendon Hooker looks to get the start again against Rhode Island, and he looked very comfortable in the RPO so look for Virginia Tech to be able to generate plenty of opportunities on Saturday.
For Rhode Island, this season has been rough in the results. The Rams come into this matchup with a 1-4 record, capturing their first victory of the season last week at Brown. But in three of the four losses for the Rams, the score differential was eight points or less. Coming into the Lane Stadium, it will be the toughest test for the Rams in their entire schedule, as they will have to play the underdog role in this matchup and hope for the opportunities to bounce their way to have any chance of pulling off the upset.
In this matchup, I see nothing but a one-sided matchup in favor of the Hokies. They are significantly better on both sides of the ball, and if they play smart then it should be no problem for Virginia Tech to improve to a 4-2 record.