Mountaineers hoping to make more upset history
A laughing Frank Beamer wasn't joking when he talked about what went through his mind when Virginia Tech was considering scheduling a game with Appalachian State.
The coach said he wanted to make sure dynamic Armanti Edwards was no longer going to be the Mountaineers' quarterback.
Edwards, who engineered Appalachian State's upset of Michigan, is now with the Carolina Panthers. But as Beamer noted, "Daggone it if they don't have another one."
His name is DeAndre Presley.
The No. 13 Hokies will get an in-person introduction on Saturday when Presley leads the Mountaineers, one of the powerhouse programs of the FCS, into Lane Stadium in the opener for both teams.
Last season, Presley became one of 13 quarterbacks in Division I history to pass for 2,000 yards and run for 1,000 in a season. He had one game in which he ran for 264 yards, another in which he threw five touchdown passes. And he came out of seven games early with a big lead.
"I don't think anybody knew that from the beginning," Mountaineers coach Moore said when asked when he realized that Presley would be so explosive. He said Presley even started slowly in the opening game.
Then the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder came alive, leading a 28-point fourth-quarter comeback against Chattanooga, and capping the rally by running 33 yards with a teammate's fumble.
"From that point on, he's just gotten better and better," Moore said.
He might be, Beamer said, "as good a quarterback as we play all year."
Presley averaged 6.4 yards per carry and scored 13 touchdowns on the ground. He threw for 2,631 yards and 21 touchdowns, and the first of his seven interceptions came in the eighth game.
The Mountaineers are usually pretty solid, too. They won three consecutive national championships, beginning in 2005, and have won the Southern Conference six straight seasons.
While officials at the school in Boone, N.C., have recommended the football program get elevated to the FBS level, Beamer said they already play like they are in that class.
"There's no question he's got a football team that can compete at the next level up," Beamer, who is entering his 25th season at Virginia Tech, said of his counterpart, Moore.
The Hokies see it, too.
"When I look at film, these guys, they look just like everyone else," Hokies cornerback Kyle Fuller said. "Just because they're a I-AA team doesn't mean anything. They can play ball."
Moore's team splashed onto the national stage in 2007 when it beat Michigan, then ranked No. 5, to become the first FCS school to beat a ranked team in the larger classification. The Hokies last year became the second ranked team to lose such a game, falling 21-16 to James Madison.
While Moore said that he has not mentioned the Michigan game to his team this week, Beamer did show his team some film of the lowlights of last season's loss to James Madison.
"James Madison took it to us and beat us," he said. "It's how you play on Saturday that counts. It's not what should happen, what you think is going to happen, the levels of teams."
The message was not lost on Fuller, who called the film session "pretty disturbing."
"Just made us feel like we don't want that to happen again," he said.