Furman Preview and Prediction

The Hokies need to take care of the football. They are -6 in turnover margin two games into the season. The scoreline against ODU could have looked much better without the turnovers. The offense left points on the field with two turnovers in the 2nd half. Without those turnovers, the Hokies could have put up 10 or 14 more points. Then the scoreline looks a lot better. More like what most fans would’ve expected. But a win is a win. Plenty of programs would have loved to have avoided the upset bug on Saturday.
 
Next up is Furman. Furman is 1-1 after nearly upsetting Georgia State on Saturday. Georgia State is the team that upset Tennessee in week 1. This team can put up a ton of points and are top 25 in the FCS. This is not a team you can sleep on. This team upset  UCF in 2015. This team features a balanced attack. Sometimes they run a flexbone (ala Georgia Tech under Paul Johnson) and sometimes they run out of spread formations. For a Virginia Tech team that struggles with finishing tackles and filling gaps, this type of offense that could give them trouble. Far more than you’d expect from an FCS team. And likely the toughest FCS challenge they’ve had since JMU in 2010 or App State in 2011.
 
Furman has a dynamic quarterback in Darren Grainger. He runs Furman’s multiple offense well and is a threat on the ground and through the air. Furman’s offense looks like a tough matchup for Virginia Tech’s defense. Furman relies on misdirection and option concepts to get players of out position. I’m not surprised they beatdown Charleston Southern and almost beat Georgia State. This offense has put up some gaudy numbers in the first two weeks of the season. The Hokies defense needs to show up for this one. This offense can sustain long drives and score even against good defenses.
 
Defensively, the Paladins do not look as strong. They are tough to figure out. Georgia State put up 38 against Tennessee and 48 against Furman. Is Furman’s defense only slightly worse than Tennessee’s? This is a defense that you can put up numbers against, particularly in the passing game. I’m not hopeful for the running game considering Tech’s poor performance against ODU. If they couldn’t get the run game going against ODU, I’m not sure they will against Furman. Or anybody else for that matter.
 
This is as concerned going into an FCS game as I can remember being. I do not believe the Hokies will lose but I do not think they will cover a 22-point spread (or 21 or 20). I expect a similar performance to the ODU game. A win likely but far from inspiring. And that’s if the Hokies can put up big numbers through the air and outpace Furman offensively. If the Hokies have any stumbles on offense or turn the ball over, look out. This is a Furman team can that can eat up clock and put up some points against the Hokies defense. Furman is better than ODU. And we saw how that ODU game went. If the Hokies offense and defense can perform better than last week, they can put this game away early. If not, this one could go into the 4th quarter. Don’t sleep on this FCS team.
 
Prediction: Virginia Tech 38, Furman 24

Grading the Unis

Ohio State

Helmet: B

Jersey/Pants combo: A

Overall: B+

The Hokies have worn far worse in big games (see Alabama 2013). This uni looked pretty good. It’s always hard to make an orange helmet work with a uniform that was almost completely maroon. But the helmet didn’t look out of place. Wasn’t my favorite uni ever but it looked pretty good overall.

 Furman

Helmet: B

Jersey/Pants combo: A

Overall: B+

I really liked the helmet. Only loses points for being a rehash of Navy’s helmet from 2013. The jersey/pants combo is the best white uni combo we have. A problem we’ve had in the past was pairing a good jersey/pants combo with a bad helmet (see the cartoon helmets from 2012). This uni combo was a winner. The only issue I can find with it is that it’s not particularly original.

Furman Preview and Prediction

Run. The. Ball. I normally don’t give coaching advice because Frank Beamer has forgotten more football than I’ll ever know. But in this game, the Hokies need to line up and pound the rock. I don’t care who is behind center but they aren’t going to be able to move the ball like our RBs have the potential to.

The Hokies interior offensive line has a serious size and strength advantage over Furman’s starters. The Hokies should have a good day running the ball if they can stick to run and get into a rhythm. JC Coleman, Shai McKenzie and Trey Edmunds should all have big days.

As for the QB situation, Brenden Motley will start but I believe we will see Dwayne Lawson enter the game next followed by Chris Durkin getting some mop up duty. I do not, however, think that the coaches will open up the offense. Expect it to be really conservative with minimal downfield passing. I don’t think the coaches want to take too many chances in the passing game.

So about Furman- this is an improving FCS team that won three games last season. Last week, they took FCS #1 Coastal Carolina to the wire eventually falling 38-35. They can definitely pose a challenge for the Hokies coming off four days rest.

Furman has the potential to put up some points, but if the Hokies defense shows up ready to play they should be able to limit the Furman offense to 13 points or less. The Hokies d-line should be able to dominate the undersized Furman offensive line. 

The Hokies should be able to win this game in convincing fashion. I still have the JMU game fresh enough in my memory to be slightly concerned. But ultimately, if the Hokies take this game even slightly seriously they should win going away. I’ll start getting nervous if it starts pouring rain and Brenden Motley starts off slowly. 

Otherwise, Hokies roll.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 38, Furman 3