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Old Dominion at Virginia Tech: Outlook, predictions and where to watch

ODU plays first in-state power 5 team as the Monarchs take on the Hokies.

NCAA Football: Old Dominion at Southern Mississippi Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Where: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Virginia

When: September 23rd, 2017 2:00 PM

TV: ACC Network

Stream: ESPN 3

Line: Old Dominion (+28)

The Old Dominion Monarchs are heading to Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech in the first meeting between the two schools. This is the Monarchs first game against an in-state power five school!


Team Breakdowns:

  • Points Per Game: ODU (23.7), VT (40.7)
  • Points Allowed per game: ODU (25.7), VT (13.7)
  • Total Yard per game: ODU (322.3), VT (482.3)
  • Passing Yards per game: ODU (190), VT (281.7)
  • Rushing Yards: ODU (132.3), VT (200.7)
  • Yards Allowed: ODU (372.7), VT (365.3)
  • Passing Yards: ODU (224), VT (242.7)
  • Rushing Yards: ODU (148.7), VT (122.7)

Virginia Tech Breakdown:

  • Location: Blacksburg, VA
  • Conference: ACC
  • Record: 3-0 (#22 WVU 31-24, Delaware 27-0, ECU 64-17 )

Players to watch:

  • QB: Josh Jackson (55-85, 829 yards, 8 TD, 0 INT)
  • RB: Travon McMillian 22 rushes (121 yards, 1 TD)
  • WR: Cam Phillips 27 catches (417 yards, 5 TD)
  • LB: Tremaine Edmunds 27 total tackles (4 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles)

Outlook

For the first time in program history, the Old Dominion Monarchs are playing a power five team from in-state. The Virginia Tech Hokies are coming into the game as one of the best teams in the country. Nationally ranked 13th in the AP poll, the Hokies are the full package. Whether it is passing, rushing, or defense they will wear their opponent down. This season looks very promising for the Hokies and could be a season to remember as they are a front-runner for the ACC championship game.

The Monarchs are coming off a tough loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels. The game started very badly for the Monarchs as they weren’t able to get a single first down in the first quarter. The one silver lining from a forgettable experience last week was the first sight of seemingly the next star quarterback in a line of greats as his predecessor. Steven Williams is 17 years old and will be starting his first collegiate football game in one of the most hostile, tough places to play in college football. I wouldn’t worry much about him as last weekend he seemed very composed and poised making multiple long throws and not getting in trouble when the pocket collapsed.

Steven Williams, the youngest Quarterback in Major College Football
L.Todd Spencer, The Virginia-Pilot

This added ability to air the ball out will help the Monarchs, who have been struggling badly with their seemingly strong point, the running game. With all-conference running back, Ray Lawry out of the game and most likely the season, the rushing attack will lie on the shoulders of Jeremy Cox and Brandon Simmons. The first three games were rough on the rushing game due to the inability to have a deep threat, so having a mobile quarterback who isn’t afraid to air the ball out will open up some running lanes for Cox and Simmons. The team, and especially the offensive line, will have to step up their game this week as they are facing one of the most talented front sevens in the nation headed by star linebacker Tremaine Edwards.

Expect the Monarchs to try and throw early to instill some confidence in Williams, but don’t expect too much other than to create some space in the box as Mook Reynolds, one of the most productive secondary players in the country, is always ready to defend the pass. This secondary is extremely talented and we can only hope that the game plan is going to play to Williams‘ strengths, as Coach Wilder eluded to in his weekly press conference, in order to keep him from losing confidence. The offensive line has been the surprising weak spot of the offense this season; for the Monarchs to be able to keep up with the potent offense of VT, they are going to have to play their best game of the year.

On the defensive side of the ball, last week was the worst showing by the D-Line who had been wreaking havoc on offenses throughout the first two weeks. With only one sack, look for them to learn and improve as they will be playing an even more skilled line this week. Last week was a rough day for the defense, giving up 259 in the air and 252 on the ground. This week will be even more complicated as Virginia Tech has multiple talented running backs who share the carries and a quarterback who is extremely effective and has all the ability in the world to escape the pocket and rush for large gains. I would guess the defense will be mostly in a 4-3 with a linebacker trying to contain the mobile QB.


Predictions

While I really like the move to Williams, and I think we won’t see such a bland offense, this game is the hardest games the Monarchs have ever played against the best opponent they have ever played.

This Virginia Tech team is extremely talented and even the best game might not be enough to beat them. The big key will be starting fast and making it a game early in order to not have an insurmountable lead come second-half kickoff. As much as it pains me to say, this Virginia Tech team is just too much for the Monarchs, VT wins 63-27.