2012 Gridiron Guide (Virginia Tech)

Aug. 5, 2012

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Virginia Tech
2011 Finish: 11-3 (7-1, first in Coastal Division)
Final Ranking: 11th (BCS), 17th (Coaches), 21st (AP)
Postseason:
    Lost 38-10 in ACC Championship Game to #21 Clemson
    Lost 23-20 in overtime to Michigan in Sugar Bowl

2012 Prediction: First in Coastal Division, second in ACC Championship votes (18)

2012 Schedule:
Sept. 3: Georgia Tech
Sept. 8: Austin Peay
Sept. 15: @Pittsburgh
Sept. 22: Bowling Green
Sept. 29: vs. Cincinnati*
Oct. 6: @North Carolina
Oct. 13: Duke
Oct. 20: @Clemson
Nov. 1: @Miami
Nov. 8: Florida State
Nov. 17: @ Boston College
Nov. 24: Virginia

* To be played at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland

Who’s Back: There’s good news and bad news offensively: The good news is record-setting quarterback Logan Thomas, the thorn in Georgia Tech’s side in last year’s game, is back. The bad news is Thomas is the only starter among skill players coming back. Marcus Davis is the top returning receiver. He is a big-play guy, having hit pay dirt five times, tying for the team lead. Additionally, center Andrew Miller is the only returnee on the offensive line. Conversely, on defense, the Hokies return their entire defensive line, including defensive ends James Gayle and J.R. Collins, who combined for 22 tackles for loss and 13 sacks, and DT Derrick Hopkins, who anchors the middle. The entire starting linebacking corps returns, including Backer Tariq Edwards and Mikes Bruce Taylor and Jack Tyler, while in the secondary, corner Kyle Fuller, who recorded 65 tackles, a team-high 14.5 of them for loss, with 4.5 sacks, and two interceptions, and safety Antone Exum, a team-high 89 tackles (43 solo) return.

Who’s Gone: Not only are David Wilson, the ACC’s Overall and Offensive Player of the Year, and his backup Josh Oglesby gone, but so are Thomas’ top two targets, split end Jarrett Boykin and flanker Danny Coale, and tight end Chris Drager. The Hokies will surround Miller with four new starters on the O-Line. While the defense didn’t lose much, they did lose leading intercepter Jayron Hosley. Also gone are kicker Cody Journell, long-snapper Collin Carroll, Wilson and Justin Myer, Tech’s kickoff men, and punt-returner Hosley.

The Last Time We Met: The 20th-ranked Yellow Jackets couldn’t stop Logan Thomas and dropped a wild 37-26 decision to No. 10 Virginia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The Jackets, coming off an upset of No. 6 Clemson, spotted the Hokies a 21-10 lead late in the second quarter before roaring back with 16 unanswered points. They appeared to have the Va. Tech on the ropes, but frustration in trying to put the brakes on Thomas on a third-down play resulted in a personal foul penalty on linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, which prolonged a Va. Tech drive. Thomas bowled his way in from 12 yards out to complete that drive and give the Hokies the lead for good. He would finish with 70 rushing yards and two touchdowns while throwing for 209 yards and three more scores. David Wilson rushed for a game-high 175 yards and had 213 all-purpose yards. Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington was valiant in defeat, rushing for 115 yards and three scores on 24 carries, while enduring five sacks. Embry Peeples also had a big day, rushing for 84 yards on three carries, including a 39-yard burst as part of a third-quarter scoring drive. The loss knocked the Jackets out of contention for the Coastal Division crown.

All-Time Series: 3-6 (1-3 at Lane Stadium)

Five Things You Need To Know About Virginia Tech:

            • Of the six Hokies with at least 100 yards receiving in 2011, four of them, wide receivers Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale, tailback David Wilson and tight end Chris Drager, are no longer with the team. That quartet accounted for 65 percent of the team’s receptions (158 of 243), 63 percent of its receiving yards (1,995 of 3,166) and 52.4 percent of its touchdown passes (11 of 21). Boykin (184) and Coale (165) rank 1-2 all-time in Hokies career receptions.

           • Miller is the most experienced offensive lineman, with 14 career starts, all last season, and is the only one with a start. The only other OL with any game experience is Michael Via, who as played in three games. Via is Miller’s back-up. The defense’s nine returning starters total 148 career starts or 16.4 apiece. None have fewer than 12 starts.

           • Under Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech has averaged 9.7 wins per season, is one of only three D-I schools to go to a bowl each of the last 19 seasons and is the only school to win at least 10 games in each of the past eight seasons. Beamer teams have won four ACC Championships and have played in the conference championship game five times.

           • Logan Thomas’  3,482 yards of total offense set a school single-season record, while his 3,013 passing yards ranked second all-time for a season. It was the second 3,000-yard passing season in school history. Thomas took part in a school-record 544 plays, 64 more than Don Strock, who set the record in 1972. His 234 completions also were a school season record (10 more than Strock in ’72).

           • Lane Stadium/Worsham Field has a seating capacity of 65,632, making it the biggest stadium in the commonwealth of Virginia.  It also means that every person in Blacksburg can have a seat, as the town’s population, according to the U.S. Census is 42,620 (that includes approximately 25,000 from the university).

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