Wolfpack hit the road against the Hokies this weekend

By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN,
STATS Senior Writer

Tyrod Taylor cruised in the first half last weekend against one of the

two worst teams in the ACC’s Atlantic Division. He and Virginia Tech’s

offense could find things just as easy this weekend against the other

one.

Taylor and the No. 16 Hokies try for a

third straight victory Saturday in their home finale when they face

North Carolina State for the first time in four years.

Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2) got a big first half from Taylor en route to a

36-9 victory at Maryland last Saturday. The junior threw for 200 yards

and three touchdowns before halftime, finishing the day completing 13

of 23 for 268 yards.

“As long as you have Tyrod, you have a chance to be successful every offensive play,” coach Frank Beamer said.

No Hokie had more than three receptions, and eight had at least one.

“They played great today,” Taylor told Virginia Tech’s official Web

site. “They made a lot of plays against good defenders. It’s my job to

get the ball around them and they did a good job of making plays.

That’s what we preached all week – just make a play. They did a good

job of that.”

North Carolina State (4-6,

1-5) is tied with Maryland at the bottom of the Atlantic and ranks one

spot ahead of the Terrapins in scoring defense in the conference,

allowing 30.9 points per game. The Wolfpack have yielded an average of

more than 40 over their last seven, falling 43-23 to then-No. 24

Clemson last weekend.

In addition to

stopping Taylor and the passing game, the beleaguered Wolfpack defense

will try to slow down tailback Ryan Williams. The Virginia Tech

freshman carried 23 times for 126 yards last week for his seventh

100-yard effort.

Williams has 1,235 yards

rushing and needs 31 to break Darren Evans’ single-season ACC and

school records for yards by a freshman set last season.

After losing two straight, the Hokies have yielded a total of 12 points

in back-to-back games as they look to finish strong with their final

three contests coming against the worst three teams in the ACC.

“We had a couple of tough losses and we’ve hung in there and stayed

together,” Beamer said. “Hopefully we’ll play our best football at the

end of the year. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

North Carolina State may be happy to go on the road after being booed

repeatedly by its home fans last weekend. The Wolfpack fell behind 24-7

at halftime as they fielded their ninth defensive lineup in a season in

which six starters on that side of the ball have been injured.

“We still have two games to play and the biggest one is this week

against Virginia Tech,” coach Tom O’Brien said. “Someone asked if we

were going to start playing for next year and certainly we are not.”

This will be a special game for quarterback Russell Wilson, a Richmond

native facing a Virginia school for the first time. The sophomore’s 26

touchdown passes this season are second in school history behind Philip

Rivers’ 34 in 2003.

Wilson turned in his

lowest completion percentage of the season last Saturday, finishing 12

of 32 for 183 yards with two touchdowns and one interception as he was

victimized by several dropped balls.

“I

don’t understand that at all,” O’Brien said. “You come out and have a

chance to play, and you have to make plays. Too many mistakes to be

against somebody as good as Clemson is. We’ve got chances, got guys

open. They’ve got to catch it.”

This is

the third ACC meeting between these teams. N.C. State won 17-16 on the

road in 2004 and Virginia Tech went to Raleigh the next year to post a

20-16 victory.

Received 11/17/09 03:17 pm ET