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Furman Paladins vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Preview and Prediction

Brendan Motley

Brendan Motley

Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va., was rocking on Monday night. After a little lull following Ohio State’s 14-0 start, the madness returned for the entire second quarter.

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Then an Ohio State score to open the third quarter dulled the excitement and quarterback Michael Brewer’s collarbone injury squashed any remaining hope. The Hokies now have to turn the page and move on to week two.

Unfortunately, it will be a short week following the Monday night game. The good news is that next in line is Furman, an FCS program that was 3-8 in 2014. The Purple Paladins did play Coastal Carolina, the No. 5 team in FCS, very tough in week one, falling 38-35.

Furman at Virginia Tech

Kickoff:  3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel:  ESPN3

Spread:  N/A

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Three Things to Watch

1. Brendan Motley at Quarterback

The complexion of the game totally changed when Brewer broke his collarbone early in the third quarter. Motley is a different type of player, one that will run more zone-read and is not as effective in a traditional passing system. He will have to develop because the strength of this offense is the receiving corps headed by Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges. Motley has to figure out a way to get the ball in their hands and if he can’t, the Virginia Tech staff may look at option No. 3.

2. Getting the Defense Back on Track

Despite what happened Monday night, this is a good Hokie defense. Ohio State ran through Virginia Tech but the Buckeyes are a different beast altogether. The first step is to have some success against an inferior opponent, a perfect scenario with Furman coming to town. Kendall Fuller and Dadi Nicolas got dinged up a bit but should be okay. They will need to be once ACC play starts.

3. Focus

A lot of emphasis was placed on the opener. But the Hokies have to remember that is just one game. Virginia Tech has to build some momentum in the next three weeks that can carry over into the start of ACC matchups. Playing Furman may be what the Hokies need to develop confidence, but it doesn’t do much to sharpen pre-game focus, especially on that short week. Tech needs to forget who is on the other sideline and prepare like they are playing the Buckeyes once again.

Final Analysis

The old saying is that if you fall off a bike you should get right back on. Virginia Tech will be hopping aboard again Saturday and with Furman on the other sideline instead of Ohio State, the terrain should be much easier to navigate. The strength of Furman’s offense is its passing attack and I’m guessing the Tech defense will have no trouble pressuring Paladins quarterback Reese Hannon. It may take some time for the offense to develop some rhythm but the offensive line will eventually come to realize that it is much easier blocking the guys in purple than scarlet and gray.

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Prediction: Virginia Tech 35, Furman 3

— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.