No. 16 Hokies aim to stay unbeaten in trip to East Carolina
By The Associated Press
Sep. 15, 2017
No. 16 Virginia Tech (2-0) at East Carolina (0-2), Saturday 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network).
Line: Virginia Tech by 20 1/2.
Series record: Virginia Tech leads 14-7.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The Hokies are looking to stay unbeaten and add another win to the program's strong road record under second-year coach Justin Fuente. The Pirates are looking for anything positive after a terrible two-game start that included a lopsided home loss to James Madison, the No. 1-ranked team in FCS.
Virginia Tech QB Josh Jackson vs. East Carolina's beleaguered defense. The redshirt freshman has thrown for 457 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in a close win against West Virginia and a shutout of Delaware. Next up is a date with the Pirates, who surrendered 614 yards to James Madison then fell behind 49-3 by halftime against West Virginia — prompting the team to reassign defensive coordinator Kenwick Thompson off the coaching staff.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Virginia Tech: WR Cam Phillips. The 6-foot senior has 13 catches for 228 yards and two scores through the first two games to rank among the Atlantic Coast Conference in yards receiving per game.
East Carolina: QB Thomas Sirk. The Duke graduate transfer is in the concussion protocol, but coach Scottie Montgomery says he's likely to start against the Hokies if healthy. Sirk threw for 191 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions against West Virginia. Week one starter Gardner Minshew would start if Sirk can't play.
FACTS & FIGURES
East Carolina has won six of seven meetings against ACC opponents and two of the last three against Virginia Tech. ... East Carolina is trying to avoid its first 0-3 start since 2004. ... The Hokies won last year's meeting 54-17 at home, but lost 35-28 on a rainy afternoon in its last visit to ECU in 2015. ... Virginia Tech was 4-1 on the road in Fuente's first season. ... Virginia Tech is 12-3 on the road against unranked nonconference opponents dating to 2000. ... The series is set to continue through 2020, with the Pirates visiting Blacksburg, Virginia, in 2018 and 2020 and the Hokies returning to Greenville, North Carolina in 2019.
This story has been corrected to show ECU has won six of seven against ACC teams, not seven of eight.
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