West Virginia, Virginia Tech to square off in Lane Stadium

September 21, 2022 GMT
Virginia Tech's wide receiver Da'Wain Lofton (3) catches a pass from quarterback Grant Wells during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Blacksburg Va. . (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Virginia Tech's wide receiver Da'Wain Lofton (3) catches a pass from quarterback Grant Wells during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Blacksburg Va. . (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Virginia Tech's wide receiver Da'Wain Lofton (3) catches a pass from quarterback Grant Wells during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Blacksburg Va. . (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)
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Virginia Tech's wide receiver Da'Wain Lofton (3) catches a pass from quarterback Grant Wells during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Blacksburg Va. . (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)
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Virginia Tech's wide receiver Da'Wain Lofton (3) catches a pass from quarterback Grant Wells during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Blacksburg Va. . (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

West Virginia (1-2) at Virginia Tech (2-1), Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Line: West Virginia by 1 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: West Virginia leads 29-23-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The Mountaineers had a late loss against Pittsburgh and then an overtime loss at Kansas before beating up on FCS Towson last week. They’ll be facing a Hokies team with a new coach in Brent Pry and a new quarterback in former Marshall signal-caller Grant Wells in an electric Lane Stadium environment.

KEY MATCHUP

West Virginia’s offense against Virginia Tech’s defense and crowd. Hokies fans turn Thursday night games into showcases for the program, but if West Virginia can get off to a fast start, it could curb their enthusiasm quickly. The Mountaineers’ potent offense will face a defense allowing just 12.3 points per game, although two of their games came against Group of Five opponents. The Hokies are 13-5 at home on Thursday nights and 23-10 in all Thursday games.

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PLAYERS TO WATCH

West Virginia: RB CJ Donaldson. The 240-pound freshman already has two 100-yard rushing games with six touchdowns along with a blocked punt. He is averaging 9.2 yards per rush, buoyed by an 82-yard run for a touchdown last week against Towson.

Virginia Tech: Wells. He was high with several early throws in his first start at Old Dominion, leading to two early interceptions, and figures to be pretty pumped up again to be facing the marquee program in his home state.

FACTS & FIGURES

The Mountaineers scored on all 10 of their possessions against Towson, with nine touchdowns. ... West Virginia’s defense has yet to make an interception this season. … West Virginia is 13th nationally in total offense, averaging 513 yards, but has allowed 14 touchdowns in three games. ... Virginia Tech ranks fifth nationally in total defense, allowing 201 yards per game. ... West Virginia won 27-21 last year in Morgantown, using a late goal-line stand to preserve the victory. ... The Hokies have been shut out five times in the series, but their current 349-game scoring streak overall is the fifth-longest in FBS history.

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