James Madison Dukes (1-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS), Week 2 College Football, 1:30 p.m. EST, Saturday, September 11, 2010, Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Va.
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: JMU +31//VT -31
Over/Under Total: N/A
It’s not often that a college football team has to work on a short week but that is the case for Virginia Tech this week, a team that opened its season on Monday with a loss to Boise State in Washington, D.C. Now, the Hokies must regroup for their home opener on Saturday afternoon against James Madison.
Virginia Tech and Boise State played an incredible game that went down to the wire between a pair of top 10 teams. Boise State started the game with a 17-0 lead after the first quarter. But the Hokies battled back in the second quarter with a pair of touchdowns from star running back Ryan Williams, one rushing and one receiving, to cut the lead to 20-14 at the half. Then, the Hokies took the lead on another Williams rushing touchdown in the third quarter to make it 21-20. After Boise State answered with a 71-yard touchdown run, Va Tech QB Tyrod Taylor threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Jarrett Boykin, but Taylor couldn’t get into the end zone for the two-point attempt, so they held onto a 27-26 lead after the third quarter. After adding a field goal to take a 30-26 lead, Boise State drove down the field in the final two minutes and their star QB Kellen Moore threw a touchdown pass with just 1:14 remaining to give the Broncos a three-point lead. Va Tech had a chance to tie it up or win it, but Taylor’s long pass attempt on fourth down was dropped.
Just like that, Va Tech’s BCS title game hopes were virtually flushed down the toilet. Any hope still remaining relies on running the table, so the Hokies have to start now with an impressive performance against James Madison.
Against Boise State, Williams scored three touchdowns but he didn’t have a great game at all, totaling 44 rushing yards on 21 carries. He also had two catches for 18 yards. Taylor was 15-for-22 for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor also ran the ball 16 times for 73 yards. Boykin had a nice game with six receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Va Tech’s defense wasn’t all that great against Boise State. The Hokies allowed Moore to throw for 215 yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, they allowed the Broncos as a team to rush for 189 yards on 23 carries. They have to do a better job of stopping the run. If they allow teams to run like that, it opens up the passing game and makes it easier for them, especially against teams with quarterbacks on the same level as Moore.
James Madison opened its season with a 48-7 win over Morehead State. That one touchdown was scored by Morehead State in the fourth quarter after James Madison had a 48-0 lead. JMU ran the ball 61 times for 294 yards. That’s a whole lot of running plays. JMU QB Drew Dudzik was 8-for-15 passing for 189 yards and a touchdown. The Dukes gave up just 67 rushing yards, 85 passing yards, and six first downs. It was a dominant performance.
Obviously, JMU is unlikely to run like that against Va Tech. But the Hokies did struggle against the run against Boise State, so expect the Dukes to try and run the ball as much as possible. The Hokies should pound the box and force Dudzik to throw the ball and rely on their defensive backs to make plays. The Hokies will try to get Williams going on the ground to set up the play action. The Dukes could have a tough time stopping both Williams and Taylor.
These teams played each other in 2003 and in 1999. The Hokies won 43-0 in 2003 and 47-0 in 1999. In their last three losses, the Hokies have been outrushed, while they’ve outrushed their opponents in each of their last seven wins. The same goes for total yards of offense in each of their last three losses and seven wins. James Madison has lost to the last eight BCS teams is has faced, dating back to 1997.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Spread: I’m expecting a 48-0 shutout. V.T’s ability to dominate on special teams makes covering the huge spread a non issue. Take the Hokies to cover the huge point spread.