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Hokies, Red Wolves Have Had Lopsided Meetings

by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #502, September 16, 2011

Virginia Tech will be facing one of the most experienced teams in the country when Arkansas State comes to town on Saturday. The Red Wolves have 32 juniors and seniors in their two-deep, while the Hokies will be relying on younger players at many positions.

For an experience comparison, we looked at all the players listed in the two-deep on offense and defense for both teams. Note that some players are tied for certain spots on each depth chart, so a total of 46 players are listed for each team.

Experience Comparison, Two-Deep
Seniors 11 18
Juniors 14 14
Sophomores 12 9
Freshmen 9 5

21 of Virginia Tech's 46 players are freshmen or sophomores. Meanwhile, 32 of Arkansas State's top 46 are juniors or seniors. The Red Wolves will have a significant experience advantage, though many of their older players are JUCO transfers.

When looking at the two starting defenses, there is a definite edge in experience to Arkansas State. The Red Wolves start 10 seniors on the defensive side of the ball, including all four defensive linemen and all four defensive backs. Meanwhile, the Hokies start five sophomores on defense, and just one senior. Bud Foster's defense is obviously good, and they are going to get even better over the next couple of years.

Experienced or not, the Hokies do have more talent than Arkansas State. The teams have played three times since 1994, with the Hokies winning 34-7, 50-0 and 63-7.

VT vs. Arkansas State
Category VT ASU
Total Yardage (Avg.) 422 190.7
PPG 49 4.7
Sacks per game 3.33 1

The Hokies beat up on the Red Wolves by an average of over six touchdowns per game. Arkansas State has scored exactly one touchdown against Tech's starting defense during those three meetings. They just haven't had much talent in the past, though it is much improved now.

Out of all the Arkansas State players the Hokies have faced in the past, probably the only names you might recognize are Cleo Lemon, James Hickenbotham and Corey Williams.

Lemon started eight games in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins in 2006 and 2007, and he is currently the starter for the Toronto Argonauts. Against Virginia Tech in 1997, he was 2-of-8 for 65 yards with one interception, and he was sacked four times.

Hickenbotham was Arkansas State's top receiver in 2002. The only reason you might remember him is because he is a from Roanoke, VA, where he was a rival of Lee Suggs during high school. He faced off against Suggs in Lane Stadium to open the 2002, but caught just two passes for 39 yards.

Williams started at defensive tackle for Arkansas State against the Hokies in 2002. He made four tackles, and had a tackle for loss. He became a sixth round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers, where he played from 2004 through 2007. He played for the Browns in 2008 and 2009, and he is currently a member of the Detroit Lions. He has been a starter for most of his NFL career.

Arkansas State certainly doesn't have much of a football history. Since moving to 1-A in 1990, the Red Wolves have had just one winning record, finishing 6-5 in 1995. They have appeared in just one bowl game, dropping the 2005 New Orleans Bowl to Southern Miss. Since 1995, ASU has an overall record of 77-162-2. They have been an independent, competed in the Big West, and they are currently in the Sun Belt.

The Red Wolves have a much better team than they've fielded in the past, and they certainly have a lot of experience. However, they still lack the overall talent to beat the Hokies without a lot of help.

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