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    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    Head To Head Matchup: Running Back

    At the beginning of the 2007 season, analysts were saying that Va. Tech opponents should get use to big doses of Ore. The Ore they were referring to is running back Branden Ore who averaged 20 carries a game in 2006 and rushed for 1,137 yards and 16 TDs. Some fans call him Branden "The Iron Ore". And in 2006, he fit that description as he put up great numbers for the Hokies.

    For the 2007 season, the 5-11, 207 lb. sophomore has been a mere mortal as he has rushed for 553 yards and 5 TDs. Not bad but hardly the numbers that he was piling up in 2006. With games remaining with FSU, Miami, and Virginia, it is unlikely that he will have anywhere near the numbers of 2006.

    In the Hokie's last game against Georgia Tech, Ore carried the ball 19 times and gained 86 yards and had 0 TDs. In 2007, Ore's Tds have come against weaker opponents. He has scored TDS against Ohio, William & Mary, North Carolina, and Duke. He did score a TD against Clemson. Against LSU, Boston College, and Georgia Tech he did not score a TD. He has failed to rush for a 100 yards in any game this year. He also has 1 receiving TD in the game against William & Mary. His largest rushing total for 2007 was in the North Carolina game when he rushed for 93 yards and 1 TD.

    The Hokie's second leading rush leader is QB Tyrod Taylor with 248 yards and 3 TDs. Taylor has been out for the last two games with an injury although reports say that he is ready to play. Sophomore running back Kenny Lewis has been used sparingly. He has 38 carries for 123 yards but has 4 TDs. in his last two games against Boston College and Georgia Tech, Lewis had a total of 15 yards on eight carries and 0 TDs. The Hokies have a total of 13 rushing TDs headed into the game with the Noles.

    Key Stats:FSU rush defense is #2 in ACC allowing only 90 rushing yards a game. Nole players to watch- LBs Derek Nicholson and Geno Hayes.

    On the Nole side, Antone Smith in the last three games has run better and his numbers are indicative of that. He has averaged rushing almost 108 yards a game in the past three games.This can probably be attributed to him being healthy and also the fact that the offensive line has improved.

    For the year, Smith has carried the ball 153 times and rushed for 645 yards. He has 3 rushing TDs for the year and none through the air. In the last game against Boston College, Smith carried the ball 22 times and rushed for 63 yards with 0 TDs. He also caught the ball 5 times for 83 yards. Smith has definitely picked his game up but his TD production has not increased. Smith has not had a TD since the Alabama game.

    The Noles could use some production in terms of TDs from the running backs and notably Smith. Of the 8 rushing TDs so far this season, only 4 are from the running backs. QB Xavier Lee has as many TDs as Smith this season.

    Key Stats:Va.Tech rush defense is #3 in ACC allowing only 91 rushing yards a game.Va. Tech player to watch- LB Xavier Adibi .

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