News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Wednesday, October 6, 2004
by Stefan Adams,

Brandon Pace, Tech Defense Climb in National Rankings

Despite facing the potent offense of West Virginia last Saturday, the Virginia Tech defense improved from 15th to 12th overall in total defense. The Hokies are giving up 262.4 yards per game, and in addition to that statistic ranking #12 in the country, there are other team and individual stats worth noting, not just for Tech but around the ACC.

Around the league, four ACC teams rank higher than the Hokies in total defense. NC State is 2nd in the nation at 193.75 yards per game, Miami is 3rd at 215.75 yards per game, Virginia is 8th at 258, and Florida State is 9th at 261.

The 13 points that Tech yielded in their 19-13 win over the Mountaineers improved its scoring defense to 14.2 points per game (16th nationally), while WVU saw its points per game average drop to 35.6 (also 16th).

Senior safety Vincent Fuller’s third interception of the season that ended last Saturday’s game gives him an average of .75 INTs per game, which ranks fourth nationally.

When Tech tees it up against Wake Forest this Saturday, the Hokies will again face a team that prefers the run when the ball is in its possession. The Deacons currently rank 13th nationally in ground yards per game with 238.2 (West Virginia is ranked 10th with 247.6 — Tech only yielded 134 yards on the ground to WVU). Wake’s featured back is junior Chris Barclay, who is averaging 87.2 yards per game, 49th in the country.

The Wake Forest offense has only turned the ball over five times, which is tied for 18th best in the country (Tech has lost the ball 8 times, tied for 37th). Wake has also forced 10 turnovers, the same amount as the Hokies.

On special teams, Wake Forest freshman wide receiver Kevin Marion sits 23rd nationally in kickoff returns, averaging 26.2 yards. Hokie junior tailback Mike Imoh could find himself on the list once he has the minimum percentage of games played (75%). Last week Imoh returned two kicks for 63 yards. His average of 31.5 yards would be good enough for 8th nationally if he were eligible.

Senior punter Vinnie Burns saw his average drop from 43.78 yards per punt to 41.33 after one of his punts traveled just 11 yards against West Virginia, and he averaged just 34 yards on 6 punts. Burns dropped from 4th in the country coming into the game versus North Carolina State to 46th after Saturday.

The four field goals sophomore Brandon Pace converted on Saturday give him 11 field goals in the five games Tech has played. His total is second best in the country, and his average field goals made per game (2.2) is fifth.

Tech’s offense might find several mismatches against an 80th ranked Wake Forest defensive unit. Tech’s 345.8 total yards per game ranks 72nd in the country and will square off with a Demon Deacon defense that yields an average of 393.4 yards per game, 80th in the country.

The 14 penalties for 132 yards Tech earned on Saturday raised its average to 75.4 penalty yards per game, which is 102nd worst in the country. They are also averaging 8.8 penalties per game, putting them at 100th.

Winston-Salem Parking Situation for Saturday

Considering Wake Forest’s Groves Stadium (31,500 seats) is home to less than half of the seats Lane Stadium can hold, the athletic department in Winston-Salem does not have to manage insanely large crowds on Saturdays in the fall.

Groves Stadium is located across from the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds, which is home to the 2004 Dixie Classic Fair "Party with the Animals" celebration that is running from October 1-10th.

The parking for both the fair and the football game will use the same general lot on Saturday October 9 and may lead to overflowing. A representative from the Wake Forest athletic office said the best advice she could give was, "Get here early because the fair opens at 9 a.m."

Parking in the lot costs six dollars if sports are available. The lot is located just across the street from the stadium, and there is an underpass that takes you to Groves without having to cross the road.

Other options include signing up for a parking spot with the North Carolina Triad chapter of the Virginia Tech Athletic Association. The "Will Call" system the athletic association uses can ensure you a parking space the day of the game. Currently there are approximately 60 spaces left for reservation. If you decide to sign up for a spot, you must arrive by 10:30 a.m. and pay the $20 fee or else you forfeit the reservation.

More details are available at:

Information about tailgating before the game can be found at:

Just in case you’re staying in Winston-Salem and need something to do after the game, you can check out the happenings at the fair. Here is the schedule; scroll down to Saturday:

Fuller Up for ESPN's "Game Changing Performance"

Vince Fuller's return of a blocked punt for a touchdown is one of four nominees for ESPN's Game Changing Performance for last Saturday, sponsored by Pontiac. The winner is decided by Internet voting, and whoever wins will earn $5,000 in scholarship money for his school and be entered for the $100,000 play of the year.

To vote, see this link:

VT/Wake Forest on the Internet

If you're not going to Winston-Salem Saturday and you can't get to a TV to watch the game against Wake Forest, you can watch the game on the Internet on Yahoo! Sports. The game broadcast is free, so if you've got a high-speed connection, you won't miss a moment of the action. Click here to see the game:

To see how the video plays and looks on your computer, check out the archive of the Duke/Virginia Tech game, which is linked on the page above.


TSL News and Notes Archives

TSL Home