Virginia Tech (1-2) at Marshall (2-0), Saturday, noon ET (ESPN2)
Line: Marshall by 5 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
Series Record: Virginia Tech leads 11-2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Virginia Tech hopes to avoid another letdown heading into Atlantic Coast Conference play. The Hokies are off to their worst start since 2010, when they opened 0-2 but rallied to finish 11-3. Virginia Tech has finished with a losing record in three straight seasons and four of the past five. Marshall, one of only three remaining unbeaten teams left in the Sun Belt Conference, opens league play next Saturday and still has a tough nonconference test at North Carolina State in two weeks.
Marshall RB Rasheen Ali against Virginia Tech’s defense. The Hokies are giving up 212 rushing yards per game, which is seventh worst among Bowl Subdivision teams. Ali, who ran for 1,400 in 2021 and missed most of last season with a knee injury, has five touchdowns in two games and is 10th in the nation with an average of 111 rushing yards. Ali has accounted for 56% of Marshall’s rushing plays.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Virginia Tech: QB Kyron Drones. The Baylor transfer threw for 190 yards and one score and ran for 74 more in his first start last week in a 35-16 loss at Rutgers. Marshall fans would probably prefer to see Grant Wells, who thrived for two seasons in Huntington, West Virginia, before transferring to Virginia Tech last year. Wells injured an ankle two weeks ago against Purdue, did not play at Rutgers and is questionable for Saturday. He threw for five TDs and ran for a score in the first two games.
Marshall: DL Sam Burton. The sixth-year senior is off to a great start with 3.5 sacks. He’s part of a unit that has 10 total sacks and has allowed three touchdowns.
FACTS & FIGURES
Marshall will visit Virginia Tech next season. … Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry and Marshall’s Charles Huff served in various roles under coach James Franklin at Penn State and Vanderbilt. … Pry’s father, Jim Pry, was a backup quarterback at Marshall in 1971. That “Young Thundering Herd” team was patched together after a November 1970 plane crash killed 75 people, including most of the football team in the worst disaster in U.S. sports history. … Hokies defensive line coach J.C. Price spent nine seasons at Marshall. … The Hokies rank fourth nationally in passing yards allowed per game at 129.3 after limiting Rutgers to 46.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll