Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hokie Matchup: vs. Western Kentucky

Head coach Frank Beamer's Virginia Tech Hokies meet up with the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers today for the first time, though Beamer went 3-2-1 against the team while he was head coach of Murray State.

The Hokies look to demolish the Hilltoppers to achieve their 30th straight non-league win at Lane Stadium/Worsham Field today.

It's doubtful the Hilltoppers will be able to keep the Hokies out of the end zone (they'd better not, or the VT coaching staff has some major work to do as the Hokies move on to finish out their ACC schedule in the following weeks), but even if they do, kicker Dustin Keys has made his last nine field goal attempts. Look for redshirt freshman Darren Evans and sophomore quarterback Tyrod Taylor to rush for plenty of yards today, which is great because the Hokies are 85-7 since 1999 when outrushing their opponent. Expect a good game out of Greg Boone and Victor "Macho" Harris as well, and look for Kenny Lewis, Jr., to try and finally break out.

I'm not saying it's impossible for the Hokies to lose today, but it would take lots of turnovers, perhaps some injuries and some real stupid play calling (don't put it past Bryan Stinespring, y'all) for it to happen, and I of course don't want to wish any of that on the Hokies. I've already heard lots of people say they aren't going to today's homecoming game because it won't be worth watching. Those people could be surprised to see a close game score at the end of the day, or they could be right, but real fans will be there, making Lane just as difficult to play in as it always is for the Hilltoppers.

As a final note, I'd like to give you an idea of just how difficult it is for other teams to play in Lane Stadium on Worsham Field. These statistics, as well as others quoted above, come from official VT records released by the athletics department on hokiesports.com.

The House of Horrors (Lane Stadium/Worsham Field)
Lane Stadium has been sold out (that's 66,233 seats) for 64 consecutive games, starting with the 1998 home closer against the Virginia Cavaliers. Here are the numbers of false starts (the opposing team jumping off the line too early for a penalty, for those of you nonfootball fans out there) and delays of game (the opposing team not getting the ball snapped to start the play before the play clock runs down) in the last 37 games at Lane Stadium. These mistakes are often attributed to the opposing team not being able to hear the QBs cadence, etc., because of noise in the stadium.

2003: 18 false starts, 9 delays of game
2004: 14, 5
2005: 13, 1
2006: 11, 9
2007: 15, 4
2008: (so far) 5, 0
Total: 76, 28

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