Sorry folks for not posting an analysis of last weekend's blowout but there wasn't much you could really take from that game. David Wilson and Ryan Williams dominated against average competition and our talent level won us that game.
However, this week the Hokies will have a challenge on their hands as the Nebraska Cornhuskers make their way to Lane Stadium. Nebraska is an improved team from what the Hokies saw last season but just like Alabama, they have a few new starters that could ultimately decide the fate of this game.
Nebraska hasn't really been tested yet this season as they beat Florida Atlantic 49-3 in week one and then dumped Arkansas State 38-9 this past weekend. Both teams are in the Sun Belt conference and neither team is predicted to be in the top three in that conference. So needless to say, this will be a measuring stick for Nebraska on what to expect this season.
I'm going to try out a new format for this game, hoping that this will lessen the workload for me but not damaging the quality content on this site. So first we will examine the teams offensive impact players.
Impact Players - Offense
Junior quarterback Zac Lee has taken over for the now graduated Joe Ganz. Lee has played very well so far in the Huskers first two games of this season, completing 75-percent of his passes for 553 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has completed passes to 11 different receivers as well. So far this season, Lee has shown pretty good poise in the pocket as well as the ability to run when need be. Obviously, the quarterbacks play is always crucial to whether or not a team performs well but for Lee, this will be his first ever game on the road in front of a raucous Lane Stadium crowd. If Lee does not perform well, neither will Nebraska.
Junior running back Roy Helu Jr. performed well in last years matchup but only received limited carries. He had 21 yards on just four carries including Nebraska's only rushing touchdown in last years matchup. This year, the Hokies defense will see a lot more of Helu Jr. seeing that he's taken about 90% of the snaps this season for the Huskers. They do have two other running backs that they can rely on but the majority of their carries have come in the 4th quarter of Nebraska's first two games.
Defensive Impact Players
Senior Ndamukong Suh is probably the Cornhuskers best defensive player. At 6'4", 300 lbs, Suh is an athletic enough lineman to make plays as both a run stopper and a pass rusher. Suh had 6 total tackles in last years matchup, which also includes 1 tackle for loss. In the Huskers first two games this season, Suh has attained 12 total tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks.
Senior safety Larry Asante is a name Virginia Tech fans should be familiar with as the Hokies recruited him a few years ago. Larry is now the starting safety at Nebraska and currently leads the team in total tackles this season with 15. I'm not sold that Nebraska's defensive backs are much better than last years but if they want to control the Hokies passing attack, Asante is going to have to step up and make some plays for Nebraska.
Matchup To Watch
I think the biggest matchup to watch in this game is going to be the Hokies running backs vs the front seven of the Huskers defense. Obviously, Nebraska isn't going to have a top 10 defense this season but it will be a lot better D than what the Hokies saw against Marshall this past weekend. If Ryan Williams, JO, and David Wilson have success running the ball, it's going to be a long day for Nebraska. But, if they can contain them and keep Williams or Wilson from busting a big play then Nebraska's offense should be able to muster enough points to keep them close, if not leading heading into the 4th quarter.
Of course, the last meeting between the two teams came last season when the Hokies traveled to Lincoln and walked away with a huge 35-30 win. The game really wasn't as close as the score indicated, Nebraska added a late touchdown with 50 seconds left to get within five after a masterful drive from Joe Ganz, but failed to recover the onside kick. Tech dominated the time of possession and won the turnover battle 2-1.
I thought heading into last years game that Nebraska would probably beat us in their house but lose to us this year in Lane Stadium. Well, that wasn't the case as the Hokies won a huge matchup, showing the nation that Tech could travel on the road and knock off a big time opponent.
I think this years game will go along similar to last year. Virginia Tech should be able to score in this game and they should be able to develop a consist ground attack with Williams leading the way. If that happens and the Hokies don't turn the ball over, I would expect Tech to win by at least two touchdowns.
Nebraska will need to bring their A game in order to win and that's hard to do when you travel to a different time zone. Like I said earlier in this article, this game will come down to quarterback play, if Lee can handle the pressure from the crowd and the Virginia Tech defense, Nebraska will have a good chance to win. If not, Nebraska and their fans could have a long plane ride home.
Nebraska - 24
Virginia Tech - 37
Virginia Tech has the number 13th ranked rushing offense, Nebraska is ranked 37th respectively.
Nebraska has the 17th ranked passing offense, The Hokies are ranked 115th in the same category
Ryan Williams is 14th in the nation in rushing yards per game, Roy Helu Jr. is 22nd.
Nebraska has only 1 turnover this year, the Hokies have 3 so far.