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    Thursday, October 23, 2008

    Head To Head Matchup: Quarterbacks

    The Seminoles have seen enough of Hokie QB Tyrod Taylor in last year's 40-21 loss in Blacksburg. Tyrod Taylor came in for starting QB Sean Glennon and had 204 yards passing and 2 TDs. He also rushed for 93 yards and 1 TD. The sophomore is 9-1 as a starter, his only loss coming last Saturday at Boston College. He is also the ACC's fifth-leading rusher averaging 74.7 yards per game.

    The Seminoles' No. 1 priority at practice this week has been preparing to stop Tyrod Taylor. Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews has pointed out that some of Florida State's most skilled defenders had trouble tackling Taylor last year. Andrews has emphasized not creating vertical or lateral seams in their rush lanes and preventing Taylor from getting out in space. Defensive tackle Kendrick Stewart said the "tackles have to push and get pressure and push him out to the ends so we can contain him."

    On the season. Taylor has passed for 585 yards, only 1 TD and three interceptions. His completion percentage is 56.7% on the year. Significantly he has also rushed 81 times for 448 yards and 2 TDs.

    Taylor is throwing for an average of 97.5 yards a game. If he keeps up that pace, he will finish with 1,072 passing yards, the fewest by a Tech quarterback since 1998. At Boston College, he had his worst passing game of the season, completing only 12 of 27 for 90 yards and an interception.

    Backing up Taylor is Sean Glennon who has thrown the ball 35 times this year for 3 interceptions, 214 yards and 1 TD. Don't expect to see him in the game unless the wheels come off badly for Tech.

    In passing offense, Virginia Tech is last in the ACC averaging 114 yards a game. In scoring offense, the Hokies rank #8 in the ACC averaging a little over 24 points a game.

    Defensive matchup: The Nole defense is ranked #1 in the ACC in total defense and will have to have one of their best games in order to contain Taylor. Contain him and make him one dimensional and the Noles have a good shot at the win.

    In passing defense, the Noles rank #3 in the ACC allowing 168 yards a game through the air. The Noles have also been stingy in allowing points. They rank #3 in the ACC and are averaging allowing 16 points a game. Getting to Taylor and either sacking him or making him hurry will be important.

    The Noles are #3 in the ACC in sacks with defensive end Everette Brown being the sack leader with 3. Virginia Tech is vulnerable to sacks and rank #9 in the ACC allowing almost 2 sacks a game. Linebacker Derek Nicholson is #3 in the ACC in tackles for a loss and Brown is close behind at #9.

    The Nole secondary led by Tony Carter and Myron Rolle will have to play a better game than against NC State. Blown coverages and easy TDs given up by the secondary could spell a loss. The Noles only have 4 interceptions for the season and are at the bottom in the ACC at #11. This game would be a good time for the Nole secondary to pick it up a notch with some key picks against Taylor.

    For the Noles, Christian Ponder will be facing the team that was his playing debut last year after replacing Drew Weatherford in the game at Blacksburg. He had moments of greatness in the game that eventually gave way to a pounding by the Tech defense.

    Backing up Ponder will either be Drew Weatherford or D'Vontrey Richardson. Don't look to see either unlesss the Noles are in a big hole in the game.

    The offensive line will have to play a better game than it played against NC State when it gave up three sacks against the Wolfpack. In addition, starter Will Furlong is out with an injury which means freshman David Spurlock will be taking his place at right guard. The Noles on the season have been strong in not allowing sacks and are in fact ranked #1 in the ACC in sacks allowed.

    For the season, the Noles have averaged 203 yards a game through the air and rank #5 in the ACC. Ponder has thrown for 960 yards, 8 TDs, and six interceptions. He is completing 53% of his passes. Ponder also has rushed for 291 yards with 0 TDs.

    The Noles rank #1 in the ACC averaging a little over 37 points a game. Ponder will need to be poised and make the proper reads in order to avoid turnovers which Va. Tech is famous for doing. The Hokies are #1 in the ACC in turnover margin.

    Defensive matchup: Virginia Tech's defense is ranked #6 in the ACC. Its pass defense is ranked #7 in the ACC allowing almost 190 yards a game through the air. The defense is getting almost 2 sacks a game. In scoring defense, the Hokies are allowing almost 20 points a game.

    Tech's defensive lineman Orion Martin ranks #3 in the ACC with 4 1/2 sacks. He also ranks first in the ACC in tackles for a loss with 9 1/2. Hokie linebacker Purnell Sturdivant is ranked #7 in the ACC averaging 8 tackles a game.

    In the secondary, Victor Harris has three interceptions and against Boston College last week, he returned a pick 55 yards for a score.With 19 takeaways and 15 sacks, the Hokies have made a large number of big plays. The Noles will have to play a near error free game against a very opportunistic Hokie defense.

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