Va. Tech (8-5, 4-3 Big East)

The Acc

September 03, 2004|By KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG | KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG,SUN STAFF

Va. Tech (8-5, 4-3 Big East)

Strengths: The Hokies no longer have to worry about juggling quarterbacks, which they did much of last season, because Marcus Vick was suspended for the year last month. Not having that distraction will help Bryan Randall, who needs just 523 yards to become the Hokies' career passing leader. Virginia Tech's defense should be a strength, as usual. The Hokies gave up just 24 points to No. 1 Southern California in their season opener, and they held the Trojans' vaunted offense in check for most of the night.

Weaknesses: Offensively, Virginia Tech is going to struggle at times. Running back Kevin Jones has gone to the NFL, and losing Vick cost the Hokies one of their best athletes. As good as the Hokies have been in recent years, the sentiment is that the program is slipping a bit. Last season, Virginia Tech lost five of its last seven games.

Key game: West Virginia, Oct. 2. The Hokies need to redeem themselves after being routed by the Mountaineers last year, 28-7.

Extra point: Frank Beamer will face good friend, and ex-roommate, Ralph Friedgen for the first time when Maryland travels to Blacksburg on Nov. 18.

2004 schedule

8-28 Southern California L, 24-13

9-11 Western Michigan 1

9-18 Duke 1

9-25 N.C. State TBA

10-2 West Virginia TBA

10-9 at Wake Forest TBA

10-16 Florida A&M TBA

10-28 at Georgia Tech

7:30 11-6 at North Carolina TBA

11-18 Maryland 7:30

11-27 Virginia TBA

12-4 at Miami 1

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