Boise State vs. Virginia Tech Preview

September 6, 2010

Boise State plays VA Tech in 2010 Allstate Kickoff In The Capital Game

Monday night’s Allstate Kick-Off In The Capital game, featuring No. 3 Boise State and No. 10 Virginia Tech, is one of the most highly anticipated season-opening matchups college football has seen in years. While only in the first week of the season, tonight’s game has national title implications. The meeting, which is also the first ever between these schools, will be televised nationally on ESPN at 8:00pm ET from FedEx Field (home of the Washington Redskins) in Landover, MD. Tonight’s game not only features two top 10 teams, but also the nation’s second and third winningest active quarterbacks. Boise’s Kellen Moore enters tonight’s game with 26 career wins, just ahead of Tech’s Tyrod Taylor (23 wins).

As a team, Virginia Tech comes  into tonight’s game as two-point underdogs, unfamiliar territory for the Hokies in season openers. Playing at FedEx Field marks Tech’s third straight season-opening game held at a neutral site. The Hokies also played at FedEx for their season opener in 2004, losing 13-24 to Southern California. Tech under Head Coach Frank Beamer is 16-7 in opening day games; however, Tech has struggled as of late, losing to East Carolina in 2008 and Alabama in 2009. Another point of concern for Tech fans is their 1-25 all-time record against AP Top 25 teams.

Tech’s defense, a consistent strong point of the Hokies under Beamer, will feature only 6 players that have started two or more games. The defense will have their hands full trying to contain a high-scoring Boise State offense that ranked 5th nationally last year in total yards.  With that said, Tech enters tonight’s game having not allowed any second-half points in five straight contests. They ended last year’s campaign on a high note with a 37-14 shellacking of Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and return many key offensive performers from that game.

While the Tech offense will be led by Tyrod Taylor, RB Ryan Williams will hold the keys to victory. As a redshirt freshman last season, Williams burst onto the college football landscape, rushing for 1655 yards and 21 touchdowns. Expect to see Tech favor the rushing game tonight. With Beamer at the helm, in the last decade, Tech is 100-9 when outrushing opponents, and 10-24 when being outrushed. The key to tonight’s game lies with Williams and the Tech offensive line, which bodes well against Boise State’s defensive line, a unit that gave up 120 rushing yards per game last season.

The Broncos enter the 2010 college football season ranked third in the AP poll, the highest ranking in school history. Perhaps the most scrutinized team in the past decade, Boise will be playing with a huge chip on their shoulder. The game will be a statement game as the Broncos will try to prove to the nation that they are worthy of their No. 3 ranking, and they deserve a chance to be considered for a trip to the BCS National Championship game should they win out the rest of the season.

Even with Virginia Tech’s inexperience on defense, Boise will have their hands full. While proving themselves no contest for Western Athletic Conference opponents, Boise is 6-17 against BCS conference schools, and 6-10 against ranked opponents. However, if ever a Bronco team had the opportunity to break the mold and make NCAA and school history, this year’s team is the one. The Broncos return virtually every starter from last year’s undefeated Fiesta Bowl champion team,  including First Team All-WAC, and First Team ESPN All-American QB Kellen Moore.  A darkhorse Heisman candidate, Moore, a junior, had a phenomenal 2009 campaign in which he passed for 3,536 yards, 39 touchdowns, and just 3 interceptions. Last season he became Boise State’s all-time single season touchdown passing leader and is threatening to become Boise’s all-time career passing touchdown, career passing yards and career pass completion leader by the end of the season.

Moore will look to WR Austin Pettis to test the Tech secondary early. Pettis, a senior, was Moore’s favorite target last season and earned first-team All-WAC honors. Pettis ranks fifth all-time in Boise State history for career receptions with 153 and could end up first on the list by season’s end. Last year, Pettis was the Broncos’s premiere wideout, grabbing 63 receptions for 855 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Defensively, the Broncos will look to senior DE Ryan Winterswyk to anchor a defensive line charged with the tough task of containing Virginia Tech’s running game.  Winterswyk led the team in tackles with 41 last season, including 9 sacks and was named first-team All-WAC for his efforts. The trump card for tonight’s game, however, lies with placekicker/punter, Kyle Brotzman. With special teams being Tech’s specialty, Brotzman will be tested early and often. The Tech special team unit has scored 44 touchdowns, including 16 on blocked punts and 4 on blocked field goals. Boise must protect Brotzman if they are to stand a chance of winning.

College football fans are in for a treat as these two teams take the field this evening. Will Boise State’s high octane offense take advantage of the young Virginia Tech secondary? Will Tech’s strong rushing attack prove pollsters wrong and push Boise State from the top five of the AP Poll? These questions will be answered in front of 70,000 fans in the Nation’s Capital tonight. Fire up the grill, let the tailgating begin and enjoy a rare early season matchup of two top-10 teams battling it out on this first week of the college football season.

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