Tech welcomes back the opponent of its first ever night game in 1936, a small school in Clinton, S.C., fresh off of a 35 point victory over Division II Brevard college. Look for senior running back Lance Byrd—who just became the first Blue Hose Division-I player to reach 2,000 career rushing yards—and sophomore running back Demarcus Rouse—who rushed for 83 yards and three touchdowns on only eight carries—to be tasked with setting the tone offensively. Presbyterian also brings a strong special teams and defensive unit to the Flats, returning the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown and only allowing 10 total points. An underclassmen lead unit, the Blue Hose is paced on the defensive side by sophomore linebacker Donelle Williams, who had six tackles, and sophomore defensive end Bryson Brindle who contributed a sack. The Blue Hose had a strong day in the red zone going four-for-four and converting on touchdowns on each of them. Also pacing Presbyterian was senior kicker Aaron Mayes’ strong leg, who converted on a 42-yard field goal in the early stages of the second quarter.
If Presbyterian wants a chance in this game, they need redshirt freshman quarterback Tamyn Garrick to control the clock, convert third downs and show poise in his first ever away game. Any team with only one week to prepare for the spread option offense is likely to experience trouble, not to mention a team from the FCS level. Also sporting new uniforms, Presbyterian is looking to build off of their fast start, as they have won their opening game for the first time since 2006 over West Georgia. This marks their third-ever meeting with an ACC team and its first since 2010. The game replaces a previously scheduled matchup with Southeastern Louisiana, a move made after the announcement of the Tech’s labor day opening game.
If last game was any indication, Tech’s team has potential for a strong year ahead. Even with the eventual defeat, a defense missing three starters was able to control Logan Thomas and Virginia Tech for most of the game. With redshirt junior Daniel Drummond and junior cornerback Louis Young coming back from suspension—barring injury set-backs—and with the possible return of redshirt sophomore Fred Holton, Tech’s defense looks formidable. Sophomore Jamal Golden will move back to the nickel corner/third safety role, with redshirt junior Jemea Thomas splitting time with Young at the second cornerback position, giving Tech a seven man rotation that also includes senior Rod Sweeting, junior Isaiah Johnson, and redshirt freshman Coray Carlson. Redshirt freshman linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days filled in well for Drummond and the rest of the linebacking core including junior Jeremiah Attaochu, redshirt sophomore Quayshawn Nealy and redshirt junior Brandon Watts showed off Tech’s strength and depth at linebacker this season.
On the offensive side of the ball, senior A-back Orwin Smith will most likely play Saturday although he was injured in Monday’s game, but the A-back position performed admirably on Monday night with redshirt junior Robert Godhigh, redshirt sophomore Deon Hill and redshirt sophomore B.J. Bostic showing off their athleticism. Redshirt senior quarterback Tevin Washington will look to continue to run a rapidly improving offense that is still without a career reception at the wide receiver position. If Tech stays true to its form, they should have no problem with an overmatched Blue Hose Squad.
Prediction: Tech 42, Presbyterian 6.