Friday, September 21, 2007

Week 4 Preview, Part II: Regularly Scheduled Tune-Ups

DUKE at NAVY
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007, 1pm - Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
Series Record:
Navy leads 19-12-5; the Midshipmen won last year's meeting 38-13
Stat Watch: 93.3%...Duke QB Thaddeus Lewis' completion percentage in the 1st half against Northwestern (14 of 15)
Quick Overview: OK, so when this series was scheduled, Duke assumed that the Midshipmen would provide a breather in between ACC shellackings...alas, Navy has not been cooperative in that regard under Paul Johnson. For the first time in nearly 3 years, the Devils enter a game coming off a victory over a 1-A team. Despite being outgained by a bajillion yards against the Wildcats last week, Duke allowed Northwestern to self-destruct just enough, and stopped the Cats on four straight plays inside the 7-yard line at the end to put to rest the infernal losing skid. Nonetheless, in all 3 of their games this season the Devils haven't scored more than 14 points or surpassed 230 total yards; meanwhile, the defense has had a difficult time stopping anyone. Still, Navy all of a sudden seems very beatable as they enter this one a surprising 1-2 with a crumbling defense. However, the Middies have the top rushing offense in the nation and the Devils just don't appear to have the speed and depth to keep pace.
Prediction: Another losing streak begins, but Duke breaks the 14-point barrier. Navy 34, Duke 21

ARMY at BOSTON COLLEGE
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007, 1pm - Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA
Series Record:
Boston College leads 23-11; the Eagles won the last meeting 44-7 in 2005
Stat Watch: 35...how many years it's been since Army has defeated a Top 20 team
Quick Overview: Now that they're the toast of the ACC after the impressive opening trifecta of wins, the Eagles now begin a 4-game break against three 1-A clubs with combined 2-6 records, along with a visit from 1-AA UMass. Matt Ryan has vaulted into Heisman contention and, if he manages not to take too many second-half breathers in the upcoming blowouts, should find himself squarely among the Top 3 candidates entering the Oct. 25 Virginia Tech showdown. One thing to keep in mind in this matchup is that the Cadets have the nations' 14th ranked total defense...don't be all that shocked if Ryan and Co. sputter a bit in the first quarter or so. A bit of a letdown - albeit brief - from these first few weeks seems inevitable.
Prediction: Hopefully the ACC won't suffer from some bad juju after knocking off the US Military Academy for the second consecutive week. Boston College 38, Army 7

WILLIAM & MARY at VIRGINIA TECH
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007, 1:30pm - Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
Series Record:
Virginia Tech leads 39-18-4; the Hokies won the last meeting 40-10 in 1985
Stat Watch: 61...the number of previous meetings between the Hokies & The Tribe; that's third most all-time among Tech opponents
Quick Overview: Bill & Mary were a bad 1-AA team last year (3-8), but are a tad better this season...and that's inconsequential. This matchup is all about Tyrod Taylor, Brandon Ore and the OL getting on the same page and getting a rhythm going as the Hokies start ACC play next week. After turning in the worst defensive performance of the Beamer era in the LSU fiasco, the Hokie defense delivered the best effort in Beamer's tenure (at least statistically) last week against Ohio (114 total yards, 5 first downs). It'll be a moral victory if the Tribe can put any points on the board against Virginia Tech's first team defense.
Prediction: The Hokies we all thought we'd see this season make their first appearance. Virginia Tech 44, William & Mary 3

The last three ACC game previews are on deck...

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