ECU Preview and Prediction

In 2015, the Hokies are simply a better team than ECU. Basically, across the board. That was also the case last year but ECU had some weapons in the form of Shane Carden, Justin Hardy and Cam Worthy which evened the playing field a bit. I’m still trying to figure out what happened last year. It was some strange combination of Ohio State hangover, nagging injuries and a sleepy start for a nooner. Either way, ECU earned it last year but I’m not sure they have the horses this year.

On paper, the matchup of ECU’s offense vs VT’s defense appears to favor the Hokies. ECU has a one dimensional offense and their strength (passing) matches up with VT’s strength (secondary). The only caveats to that are health (Fuller & Facyson) and inexperience (Alexander). Otherwise, VT should be able to limit what ECU can do thru the air. On the ground, ECU is a non-factor. The only team they’ve been able to run on is Towson and they’re not exactly a powerhouse. Watch out for their TE Bryce Williams though. He could present some problems for VT’s LBs and secondary.

For the offense and Brenden Motley, this game represents a step up in competition and the atmosphere will be charged. If VT can lean on the run game like they did against Purdue, I think they should be able to move the ball well against this ECU defense. I don’t think they will be asking too much from Brenden Motley in this game. The gameplan should be to methodically move the ball downfield with the run setting up the pass. ECU does not give up many big plays but if VT just takes it one first down at a time, they should be a good shape.

This game is regularly described as ECU’s biggest game on the schedule. ECU will be on national TV in front of a hyped crowd. Expect their best effort. I think the game at Purdue was good preparation for this game. It gave the Hokies some confidence that they could go on the road and win. This game will certainly be more difficult but I think this year’s Hokies are up to the challenge. Key to this game will be the defense forcing a couple of three and outs early and getting the crowd out of the game. If they can do that and avoid a turnover fest on offense, they should be in good shape.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 31, ECU 17

Q&A with ECU Pirate Cannon

You can follow ECU Pirate Cannon on Twitter @ECUPirateCannon and read his monthly feature at

What are your thoughts on your team so far?

We’re three games into the season and have a 1-2 record. We just suffered our first conference loss (albeit in the other division) in a triple option drubbing at the hands of Navy and we still have quite the out of conference schedule ahead of us as we host your Hokies and travel to Provo to take on BYU in 2 of our next 3 games.

I like what I see out of our QB Blake Kemp who stepped up when our named starter went down with a season ending knee injury 10 days before our first game. He’s a good leader who isn’t rattled easily. Early on he may have been a bit cautious with the ball, but he’s settled in nicely and can be credited as part of the reason we had a chance at taking down the Gators in the Swamp. Two offensive juggernauts of this team that you cannot ignore are WR Isaiah Jones and TE Rob Gronk… err… Bryce Williams. Honestly, I’m not sure I have a perfect bead on our RB game yet. That aspect of our game needs to show me more against mightier foes to get me feeling more comfortable. Our once great rushing D struggled a bit against Towson (a better team than their previous year’s results may have you believe) and clearly Navy. The defensive backfield might look okay on paper… eh, we’ll just leave it at that. BUT, when the Pirate defense is clicking, as they were a good bit against Florida, they’re a huge asset.

Overall, I’m cautiously optimistic. I’ve seen most of the pieces necessary to be a good team, now let’s put them together in one game… preferably by, say, this Saturday’s matchup.

What are your expectations going into the VT game?

I expect to win. And no disrespect to Virginia Tech, but I always expect to win.

This should be a sold out game as Pirate Nation will be in full force for the 3:30 bout against a fellow P6 foe (see what I did there?) being broadcast on ABC. The energy at kickoff will be electric – your first time visitors to Dowdy-Ficklen should be impressed by our game day atmosphere.

On the defensive side of things, I need our rushing D to step it up. On offense, I’d like us to establish an effective run game again and see a ~60/~40 split by air and by land.

What are your thoughts on the VT-ECU series?

I imagine some of you think that playing ECU is a no win situation, and I’ll never convince that group differently, but I love playing the Hokies. It is my favorite out of state, OOC series that we engage in (true, I might not have a lot to choose from, but I’m considering the likes of WVU and South Carolina, and at this time I can’t think of a replacement I’d like better). Your program is top notch in my book and your fans and game day experience are pretty awesome. In our circles, we use you as the example of what we aim to be. “Give us the chance with the big boys, and we will compete. We can be the next Virginia Tech.” Also, if I can get a bit sappy for a second, one of my favorite moments was our game against y’all in Blacksburg after the shooting. The show of solidarity and appreciation between the universities prior to kickoff was touching. Oh! You also have a nice cannon too (even if you don’t allow him inside your stadium).

What is your prediction for the game?

As a Hokie fan, you may have read what I had to say and you may have seen highlights of our previous games this year and think, this game doesn’t scare you. But your team and fan base are smart enough to not overlook a scrappy ECU team.

A pissed of ECU team + a sound opponent (we love playing up to competition) + a fan base (at home) that needs a solid win = a recipe for Pirate success.

My money is staying in my pocket this week, but my heart says we play inspired ball and win by 7 in a competitive game on both sides of the ball. Call it ECU 28 – Virginia Tech 21. #BOOM!

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