Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer has spent much of this week saying just how dangerous Arkansas State could be on both sides of the ball when it makes the trip to Lane Stadium this weekend.
The Red Wolves’ spread offense is a mix between Appalachian State’s balanced option attack and East Carolina’s dink-and-dunk passing offense. It features quarterback Ryan Alpin, a run-pass threat who completed 19 of his 21 passes in a blowout win over Memphis last week and set all sorts of school records a year ago. He also has several talented wide receivers, including former Oklahoma commit Josh Jarboe.
The defense, meantime, has 10 seniors back this year, and Beamer raved about their athleticism. The team’s defensive coordinator is Dave Wommack, who held the same position at Georgia Tech when the Yellow Jackets won the ACC championship in 2008.
As proof, Arkansas State put a scare into Illinois, losing 33-15 to open this season. But let’s not kid ourselves here. The Hokies have no business losing this game.
The Red Wolves haven’t had a winning campaign since 1995. Plus, Arkansas State Coach Hugh Freeze is in his first season as a head coach at a Football Bowl Subdivision program, and at this point, is probably better known as Michael Oher’s high school coach from “The Blind Side.”
Arkansas State also had the worst defense in the Sun Belt Conference last year, finishing 105th in the country in total defense.
If that doesn’t demonstrate enough of a disparity between the Red Wolves and the Hokies, consider this: The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that according to 2009-10 budget numbers provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Arkansas State spent $3.8 million on football, the second-smallest budget among FBS schools. In comparison, Virginia Tech spent about $16.3 million.
The most important part of this game will revolve around quarterback Logan Thomas’s development. He’s coming off an up-and-down 8-of-20 showing against the Pirates, and has completed just 43 percent of his passes through two games.
The Hokies need to get their passing game on track – whether it’s Thomas’s accuracy or the wide receivers’ eight dropped balls thus far — now that the teeth of their schedule looms ever closer.
I’m guessing the score of this one falls right between the Hokies’ two results so far this year. It won’t be a runaway victory like Appalachian State, but I don’t expect Virginia Tech fans to sweat it out like last week.
My prediction: Virginia Tech 42, Arkansas State 20.
What do you think? Vote in our poll.