- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

East Carolina (1-1) at No. 17 Virginia Tech (2-0), Noon (ESPN)

Line: Virginia Tech by 11.

Series Record: Virginia Tech leads 13-5.

WHAT’S AT STAKE:

The Pirates feel as if they have something to prove, and players began preparing on their bus ride home after a 10-point loss at South Carolina last week. Last season, the Hokies manhandled what was a high powered offense, but still only escaped Greenville, North Carolina, with a 15-10 victory. This year, they are coming off a win at Ohio State and trying to show they are an elite team once again.

KEY MATCHUP:

East Carolina QB Shane Carden and wide receiver Justin Hardy against the Hokies’ secondary. Hardy caught 114 passes for nearly 1,300 yards last season, but managed just six catches for 31 yards against the Hokies. In its victory at Ohio State, the Hokies sometimes had nine men in the box, trusting CBs Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson to put the clamps on the Buckeyes’ receivers. It worked, and Hardy is surely eager to test them again.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

East Carolina: Carden. Coach Ruffin McNeill said Carden is among the most eager to play this game after he was stymied by the Hokies last season, completing 19 of 31 passes for 158 yards. The Hokies sacked him seven times, and sacked Ohio State QBs seven times last week. Carden lost most of his O-line from 2013.

Virginia Tech: WR Isaiah Ford. The freshman had a quiet day against Ohio State with just two catches, but has emerged as one of QB Michael Brewer’s favorite targets. He was a touchdown machine during training camp scrimmages, and scored one in the opener.

FACTS & FIGURES

After being held to 10 points by Bud Foster’s defense last season, the Pirates scored 55 or more points four times the rest of the season. … East Carolina has limited the Hokies to just two touchdowns in each of the last two meetings between the schools. … Since 2000, the Hokies have 262 interceptions, 17 more than the next-best program (Boise State). … Virginia Tech has 11 sacks in two games.

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