Sons of Saturday Game Picks: Virginia Tech Hosts NC State in Season Opener in Blacksburg
It's finally football weekend in Blacksburg, Virginia.
For the first time in 2020, there will be Virginia Tech football, as the Hokies host the 1-0 NC State Wolfpack in a long-awaited season-opener in Lane Stadium on Saturday night.
The Wolfpack, who enter the game against the Hokies following a 45-42 shootout win over Wake Forest last Saturday, look to continue the momentum with a mostly-healthy roster heading into kickoff. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, has questions abound, as the program continues to struggle with a COVID-19 outbreak that will likely hold multiple starters out of the game on Saturday.
There is so much uncertainty regarding this football game for Tech, but there is also plenty of optimism about what a fully-healthy roster can do as the season takes shape. It will certainly be interesting to see how it all pans out.
As the website kicks off its inaugural football season, we are pleased to release our first Virginia Tech game picks in the site's history. Here's how The Sons and The Scribes of Saturday believe the game will pan out on Saturday night in Blacksburg.
The Sons of Saturday
Billy Ray Mitchell
Virginia Tech 35 NC State 31
Virginia Tech is the more talented team. There is no experience like in game experience which NC State has, but the talent and culture built in the Virginia Tech football program combined with the leadership on the team will pull through and the Hokies are off and running!
Virginia Tech 31 NC State 17
Virginia Tech is going to Virginia Tech and make mistakes early. It's game one of the season, and our feet tend to look like swiss cheese after game one (you know, from all the times we'll end up shooting ourselves in the foot). That said, I think the Hokies will find their cadence offensively by the late second quarter, and after that, the flood gates will open. NC State will pick on the inexperienced part of our secondary, which will allow them to score the only two touchdowns they'll have. Other than that, I think Virginia Tech stops the run up front and walks out of week three with a victory.
Virginia Tech 31 NC State 16
The Wolfpack have a nice rushing attack but I am confident in the ability of the Hokies' run defense. I can see it being too close for comfort at halftime, and Tech pulls away at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Look out for a big day from the Virginia Tech rushing game with 220+ yards.
The Scribes of Saturday
Virginia Tech 35 NC State 20
Virginia Tech wins.
Virginia Tech 24 NC State 14
The Hokies opened as 10 point favorites and I think that's accurate. NC State already has a game under its belt, while it isn't clear who will be healthy enough to play for the Hokies. While I think the Hokies will win, I don't think it will be a blow out by any means. NC State keeps it close, but Tech wins this one. Could also swing the other way if Tech ends up having to play a lot of inexperienced players due to COVID-19 protocols.
Virginia Tech 34 NC State 20
Given all the variables to include Virginia Tech’s QB competition, the COVID-19 protocol's impact on the 2-deep, and the new staff and personnel, the VT offense can still consistently score thanks in part to returning depth and experience, meaning the game will more than likely come down to how the Hokies defense matches up with the NC State offense.
However, new DC Justin Hamilton’s emphasis on “bend but don’t break” along with an experienced and athletic front seven are reasons enough to expect the Hokies to stifle NC State. It will probably be rough start followed by VT jumping out to a commanding lead and ultimately winning by 2 TDs.
Virginia Tech 38 NC State 21
Hokies offense will put up some points against a not so great NC State defense, but the Wolfpack have a great rushing game and will get a few scores.
Virginia Tech 31 NC State 17
This one starts off ugly for both teams but the Hokies are the superior unit. Offense takes a quarter to click and the Hokies take off in the second half.
Virginia Tech 38 NC State 17
It's difficult to expect the Hokies to come out sharp given all the delays and other complications so far this season, but it's NC State. They gave up 42 to a bad Wake Forest team, and I expect the VT offense to find similar success while coming up strong on the defensive end.
Virginia Tech 31 NC State 24
I expect a close and likely sloppy effort if this game finally kicks off. Tech has an overall talent advantage and State has shown they can score, but defense has proven to be an issue.
Virginia Tech 30 NC State 20
The first few weeks of the college football season have been quite interesting and teams have gotten off to some shaky starts. I don't expect anything different from this game. There's obviously a lot of uncertainty around who will trot out on the field on Saturday night, especially at some of the skill positions.
However, I think we will all be reminded of how good this team was rumored to be during this offseason. The game will be close at halftime but I expect to see good games out of Tré Turner, James Mitchell and Rayshard Ashby. Also, seeing Lane Stadium and that field under the lights will be an absolute delight so let's #StartJumping!
Virginia Tech 41 NC State 20
I don't think NC State is a top half ACC team, and I say that because they were in a close shootout with a not-so-great Wake Forest team last week. Even if the Hokies are missing a few starters, I just have this feeling that the skill players for the Hokies will show up early. The Wolfpack will start pressing and the game will get away from them late. Hokies run all over the Pack by 3 TDs.
Virginia Tech 35 NC State 24
A full strength Virginia Tech team is significantly better than NC State. Who will suit up for the Hokies is still to be determined, but depth in the QB and RB room gives me confidence regardless.
Virginia Tech 23 NC State 20
We're all kidding ourselves if we truly have any idea how this game is going to go. It's a bit easier to handicap with both teams at full strength, but considering how much uncertainty there is around the Virginia Tech football program at the moment given the COVID-19 outbreak that has worked its way through the roster, this game could go any number of directions.
Virginia Tech at full strength is better than NC State at full strength - that much I know. However, for Virginia Tech to overcome the rust factor, as well as the Wolfpack's mostly-healthy roster, there will need to be contributions from everyone taking snaps. This will need to be a comprehensive team effort in order for the Hokies to emerge victorious.
Bottom line is that NC State's offense likely is not as good as it looked a week ago against Wake Forest, and even though Virginia Tech will be without some starters on defense, I believe that this is a much better defensive unit in Blacksburg than the one the Wolfpack just faced a week ago. I think a late turnover by the Virginia Tech defense seals a tightly-contested game for the Hokies at Lane Stadium. If Justin Fuente pulls this off on Saturday for the good guys, it will be one of his best coaching jobs since arriving in Blacksburg five years ago.
Hokies win close.