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Appalachian State at No. 13 Virginia Tech

Where: Lane Stadium (cap. 66,233), Blacksburg

When: 12:30 p.m.

TV: FOX. Radio: WRNL (910), 11:30 a.m.

Records: Appalachian State 0-0, Virginia Tech 0-0

Players to watch (last year’s stats): ASU – QB DeAndre Presley, Sr., 210-343-7, 2,631 yards, 21 TDs, 162 carries, 1,039 yards, 13 TDs; WR Brian Quick, Sr., 47 catches, 844 yards, 9 TDs; RB/WR Travis Cadet, Sr., 115 carries, 671 yards, 6 TDs, 19 catches, 218 yards, 1 TD. VT – QB Logan Thomas, So., 12-26-0, 107 yards; RB David Wilson, Jr., 113 carries, 619 yards, 5 TDs; ILB Bruce Taylor, Jr., 91 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 4 pass breakups, 12 quarterback hurries.

Notable: This is the fourth meeting between Appalachian State and Tech, and the first since 1982. Tech is 3-0 against the Mountaineers, who are currently ranked No. 2 in the Football Championship Subdivision. … The Mountaineers won three straight FCS national titles from 2005-07, but haven’t advanced past the semifinals the past three years. … Since the beginning of 2005, Appalachian State is 71-15 and 41-4 in the Southern Conference, including a win at fifth-ranked Michigan in 2007. Since then, the Mountaineers are 0-3 against Football Bowl Subdivision teams, losing 41-13 to Louisiana State in 2008, 29-24 to East Carolina in 2009 and 48-10 to Florida in 2010.


BE READY FOR ANYTHING ON OFFENSE: Appalachian State is switching from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4, but the Mountaineers still have the players who ran the 4-3 last year. The Hokies prepared this week for the possibility that Appalachian State could play a 4-3 or a 3-4. Adjusting on the fly will be a challenge, especially for new starting quarterback Logan Thomas and new center Andrew Miller – both sophomores. Miller is responsible for identifying the defensive fronts and relaying the information to his fellow linemen — all of whom are fifth-year seniors who started last year, except him.

STAY DISCIPLINED ON DEFENSE: The Mountaineers’ spread option offense will force the Hokies’ defenders, six of whom are new starters, to remember their responsibilities in a particular scheme (dive play, pitch or quarterback keeper) or not stray from them. Defensive line coach Charley Wiles expects the Mountaineers to leave Tech’s best defensive end (probably James Gayle) unblocked and let quarterback DeAndre Presley read what Gayle does and run the option based on that. That means Gayle will have to adjust, as well – something that was a challenge for him last season.

AVOID FIRST-GAME JITTERS BY YOUNG PLAYERS: The Hokies will play backup defensive tackles Luther Maddy and Corey Marshall, both true freshmen. They have a new quarterback, center and “backer” inside linebacker (sophomore Tariq Edwards). All told, they have just one senior starter on defense, rover Eddie Whitley. This isn’t the type of big-stage opener the Hokies played the past two years (Boise State last year, Alabama in 2009, or even East Carolina in the Carolina Panthers’ stadium in 2008), but butterflies could still factor in.