Virginia Tech continues its home-road series with East Carolina this Saturday from the Pirates home in Greenville, NC. The game begins at 3:30 EST this Saturday from Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, with the Pirates coming off an embarrassing loss to West Virginia and Tech coming in with a victory over Delaware. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports channel.
Virginia Tech has not missed a beat since switching from the retired head coach Frank Beamer to Justin Fuente. They opened the season with a big win over West Virginia, and now are up against a team that lost to WVU by 36 points last Saturday.
After their win over the Mountaineers, the Hokies blanked Delaware in an easy 27-0 victory. They now travel for a rare game inside a group of five teams’ home.
East Carolina is just trying to get through their nonconference slate after losing to FCS powerhouse James Madison by 20 and WVU by five-plus touchdowns. They’re drained of the talent they had just two years ago when they beat Virginia Tech at home. If you think the spread of 21.5 points in Tech’s favor is interesting because of the score in 2015, these are two completely different teams now.
Especially in terms of the Pirates side.
The Pirates have a lot of problems. They lost to James Madison, an FCS team, by 20 at home. So why wouldn’t an ACC title contender beat them by 22?
What Vegas is looking at is the fact East Carolina is 4-1 ATS in their last five against Tech. But Virginia Tech embarrassed the Pirates 54-17 at home last season (as only two touchdown favorites), and the Pirates home doesn’t give them much of an advantage. They’re 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games, and they’re also 0-5 ATS in their last five contests.
The Hokies have found a healthy pulse on offense even after the loss of stud QB Jerrod Evans. Josh Jackson hasn’t been asked to do much at the position, but he’s excelled when given the opportunities to do so. He’s yet to throw a pick in 55 attempts, with three touchdowns. What damage he hasn’t done through the air, he’s done on the ground, with 120 yards added on 19 carries. That’s an impressive 6.3-yard average for those keeping score at home.
Also, the fast-improving Tech defense under Fuente will be licking their chops against Thomas Sink, the East Carolina QB. He may not play after going through concussion protocol, but it may not matter. He’s struggled with four interceptions compared to one td pass, and he’s only completed 53% of his passes. His backup, Gardner Minshew, is also a work in progress. He’s only 14 of 31 on passing attempts.
ECU has only given up one sack so far, but it will have to somehow handle the force of LB Tremaine Edwards, who already has 4 TKFL and 1.5 sacks. The Hokies have done well on the front seven, with six sacks through the first pair of games.
The Pirates will have to rely on their running game, because that’s the one area Tech may be vulnerable. Still, the crew from Blacksburg is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 and are riding high after a statement win and a shutout. No wagers are a sure thing, but this one looks very promising.