College Football Preview: Ohio vs. Virginia Tech Print
Friday, 14 September 2007 03:35

Hokies Battle Bobcats

Virginia Tech will turn to a first-year player to help it bounce back from its worst defeat in almost 25 years. Tyrod Taylor will become the first true freshman to start at quarterback under coach Frank Beamer when the 18th-ranked Hokies host Ohio on Saturday.

Virginia Tech (1-1) lost 48-7 at second-ranked LSU last week, the school's most lopsided defeat since falling 45-0 to Vanderbilt on Nov. 13, 1982 and the worst since Beamer took over the program in 1987.

"I think we have the makings of a good football team," said Beamer, whose squad dropped nine spots in the Top 25. "But we have a lot of work to do to get there, and that's the bottom line.''

Oddsmakers from SBG Global  have made Virginia Tech -21 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday's game, the over/under has been set at 42.5 total points (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 93% of bets for this game have been placed on Virginia Tech -21 (View College Football bet percentages).

The Hokies look to rebound against Ohio (2-0) as they try for a fourth straight win over the Bobcats and 27th consecutive home victory over a nonconference opponent.

They will attempt to accomplish both with the highly touted Taylor at the helm. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Taylor was 7-for-18 for 62 yards and rushed for the Hokies' touchdown after replacing ineffective starter Sean Glennon in the second quarter against LSU.

Glennon, who started the last 15 games, will serve as the backup Saturday.

"This is not a reflection on Sean,'' said Beamer, who can claim his 200th career victory Saturday. "He's put so much into his preparation, and he's such a competitor. We just feel like with this football team and our offense, Tyrod fits our personnel better right now."

Taylor will try to jump-start an offense that has just two touchdowns and amassed 427 total yards in a loss to LSU and a 17-7 win over East Carolina in an emotional season opener at home Sept. 1.

The Hokies, though, might have a chance to break out against Ohio, which allowed 534 yards in a 31-23 victory at Louisiana-Lafayette last Saturday.

While the Hokies hope Taylor will provide an offensive spark, Virginia Tech will look to bounce back defensively after allowing its highest point total since a 52-49 loss to California in the Bowl on Dec. 26, 2003.

The nation's leader in total defense each of the last two seasons, Tech allowed LSU to rack up 598 yards, the most since it allowed 604 in a 50-42 loss at Syracuse on Nov. 9, 2002.

Ohio will be looking to win its first three contests for the first time since starting 4-0 in 1976, which should give Virginia Tech motivation to play well against the Bobcats. Ohio lost 45-0 at Blacksburg on Sept. 17, 2005 in the most recent meeting.

To get a similar result, Virginia Tech will have to find a way to deal with running back Kalvin McRae on Saturday.

McRae rushed 20 times for 84 yards and scored three of his four touchdowns in the second half as the Bobcats rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit last week.

McRae, one of the MAC's top performers, is looking for his third straight 1,000-yard season.

"Blocking, running, receiving - I have a lot of respect for what he does," Ohio coach Frank Solich said.

The senior running back, though, hopes to fare better than he did against Virginia Tech two years ago, when he managed just 16 yards on six carries.

Ohio, 0-3 against Virginia Tech, will try for its second straight victory over a team from the Football Bowl Subdivision after winning 20-17 at Illinois on Oct. 14.

by: Anthony White - - Email Us

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