Good evening, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) sports fans. You can tell that college football is getting close when USA Today releases their first college football poll. I got a fever – and the only prescription is more cowbell.
Today, we dropped the opportunity for an ACC mailbag – and over the next couple of days, @TalkinACCSports and I will answer some questions from Twitter. Without further ado, thanks for @Civilian_Wolf for an ACC question. See his question below:
— Tim (@Civilian_Wolf) July 30, 2015
To answer Tim’s question, let’s look back at the history of the series with Virginia Tech in the ACC (there are more than two games). Virginia Tech is 3-1 vs. NC State (and a missed field goal away from being 4-0 vs. the Wolfpack). Frank Beamer, the longest active tenured coach in the Football Subdivision, was head coach for all of Virginia Tech’s coach in all four games. Chuck AMato was the coach for NC State’s 2004 and 2005 teams (and favored pro-style offenses). Tom O’Brien was the coach for NC State’s 2009 and 2010 seasons (he also favored pro-style offenses).
In 2004, Virginia Tech lost 17-16 to the Wolfpack. Defenses absolutely ruled that game as the Hokies and Wolfpack had 192 and 223 yards, respectively (Mario Williams was an absolute baller for NC State). Virginia Tech had NFL talent all over its roster in Vincent Fuller, Darryl Tapp, Jimmy, Eric Green, etc. (but the next year was the Hokies year to really shine on defense). Those were the two best defenses in the ACC that year.
In 2005, Virginia Tech, led by the infamous Marcus Vick, went into Raleigh – and the Hokies came out with 20-16 win. Virginia Tech established itself as the ACC’s best defense – and the best defense in the country (more on this below – because I think 2015 – one decade later – this best defense theme will be coming up again). There was NFL talent all over this roster: James Anderson, Vince Hall, Aaron Rouse, Xavier Adibi, Jimmy Williams, D.J. Parker, Justin Hamilton, Brandon Flowers, Eddie Royal, Carlton Powell – I know @TalkinACCSports remembers this team as well as I do (ballers up and down the field on the Hokies D).
In 2009, NC State visited Blacksburg – and got absolutely waxed by the Hokies by the score of 38-10. Russell Wilson (now NFL QB with the Seattle Seahawks) ran for -43 yards, was sacked five times, and was intercepted once. He was running scared. Ryan Williams ran for 126 yards in this game – and Tyrod Taylor passed for almost 200. That’s a recipe for victory.
In 2010, Virginia Tech visited Raleigh – and came out with a 41-30 win over the Wolfpack. You know Russell Wilson was going to try to redeem himself – and that he did. Russell passed for 362 yards – but was outdone by the tandem of Tyrod Taylor, who ran for 147 yards, and Darren Evans, who rushed for 161 yards.
On Friday, October 9, 2015, NC State and head coach Dave Doeren visits Virginia Tech (this is Coach Doeren’s first game the Hokies), which will be a nationally televised matchup on ESPN (one of my top ten ACC games of the year). Coach Doeren’s teams run a spread offense that feature a dual-threat quarterback – with a huge emphasis on the run (Doeren utilizes this spread to keep defenders out of the box so he can open up the running game). So, to answer Tim’s question, I can’t really compare it to the last three games – because the offense that Coach Doeren runs is so much different than that of AMato and O’Brien. For sure, Doeren has one of the top five QBs in the ACC in Jacoby Brissett. Similar to 2005, NC State will be playing what could be one of the top five defenses nationally in its matchup with Virginia Tech’s football team. NC State will have to be able to pass the ball to keep Virginia Tech’s defense honest, right? Here’s the deal on that: Virginia Tech has the two best defensive backs in the country in Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson. You can be sure that Virginia Tech is going to absolutely sell out on stopping the run – and the Hokies have that juice with their entire defensive line on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List to stop that run. It all depends on what happens with Virginia Tech’s offense – does it have the juice to make the yards it needs to get enough points on the Wolfies? In the end here, I think Virginia Tech will defeat NC State. It will be a close game (similar to 2004 and 2005), but I think the Hokies will come out on top.