Two straight shutouts in a young season have catapulted Virginia Tech to number one in the nation in scoring defense,
at just 5.33 points per game. The Hokie defense is strong in other areas, standing at number five in total defense
(220.67 yards per game), and among individual player rankings, Marcus Vick is 16th in passing efficiency.
Consecutive shutouts against Duke and Ohio mark the first time the Hokies have shut out two opponents in a row since
2001, when the Hokies had four total shutouts. That year, VT shut out Western Michigan (31-0) and Rutgers (50-0) back to
back, also in the second and third games of the season.
With a strong showing against NC State, when they gave up just 16 points (despite surrendering 438 yards), the Hokies
find themselves atop the national rankings in scoring defense, tied with Nebraska. The Cornhuskers have beaten Maine
35-7, Wake Forest 31-3, and Pittsburgh 7-6, all at Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium.
Four other teams are surrendering fewer than ten points a game: Oklahoma State (7.7), Florida (8.0), Auburn (8.7) and
Connecticut (9.3). UConn shut out their first two opponents before losing 28-13 this weekend to a Georgia Tech team that
didn’t have starting QB Reggie Ball (more on that later).
For complete scoring defense rankings, click
Marcus Vick has started out strong this season, going 34-56 (60.7%) for 480 yards, with 6 touchdowns and just one
interception. That gives Vick a pass efficiency rating of 164.5, landing him at #16 in the nation, one spot ahead of
Chris Leak of Florida. USC’s Matt Leinart is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition with a rating of 243.7.
To draw the inevitable comparison, Michael Vick posted an NCAA freshman-record pass efficiency rating of 180.4 in
1999, so Marcus is right on the heels of his older brother’s personal best. (Michael’s efficiency dropped drastically in
2000 to 127.4, which placed him 36th in the nation.)
For the complete ranking of the current NCAA leaders in passing efficiency, click
In poll news, the Hokies held onto the #4 rankings in both the AP Poll and USA Today Coaches’ Poll this week. Click
here for the full rankings.
Georgia Tech’s Reggie Ball Iffy For Saturday
The Georgia Tech football team got a scare Saturday when starting QB Reggie Ball, who had been feeling poor early in
the week, worsened and had to check into a hospital Saturday with an undisclosed illness.
The Yellow Jackets played the game with redshirt freshman QB Taylor Bennett and pulled out a 28-13 win, but Bennett’s
statistics were pedestrian: 11-30, 142 yards, and a touchdown. Bennett’s best statistic was a zero, as in zero
Ball was diagnosed Sunday with viral meningitis, the less deadly form of meningitis. (It was bacterial meningitis
that nearly killed former Hokie women’s basketball player Rayna DuBose several years back.) Ball is expected to be
released from the hospital Monday and is questionable for the battle of the Techs this Saturday.
Symptoms of viral meningitis, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (quoting the Center for Disease Control
web site), typically last a week to 10 days and may include “fever, severe headache, stiff neck, bright lights
hurting the eyes, drowsiness or confusion and nausea and vomiting.”
Ball became ill in the middle of last week, so recovery, especially the full recovery required to play quarterback in
a Division 1-A football game, is by no means guaranteed by Saturday. Treatment is bed rest, fluids, and fever and
Reggie Butler Sprains Knee
Virginia Tech offensive guard Reggie Butler left Saturday’s game in the first quarter with a right knee injury that
turned out to be a sprain. Butler will be re-evaluated Monday, but it’s unlikely that he’ll play against GT.
Butler’s absence led Tech offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Bryan Stinespring to experiment with various
lineups during the Ohio win, resulting in spotty line play. Mike Harris of The Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting that
if Butler is unable to play Saturday, Stinespring will start junior Danny McGrath at center and move senior Will
Montgomery from center to guard.