I will start with my prediction this time and I have the Hokies big, 35-10.
The Hokies are ranked 13th overall and come in with a perfect 2-0 record.
The Panthers defense has been unable to get stops in either of their first two games and thus the team is 0-2.
A loss today would put the Panthers at 0-3 which has happened only twice (1984 and 2005).
While every defensive player could be up for this, I will give it to Mike Shanahan. Shanahan leads the Panthers with 11 catches and 113 yards and his 108 career receptions are tied for 13th overall. Shanahan has been quarterback Tino Sunseri’s number one target on third downs and I expect that to continue.
Why the Panthers will win:
1. Defense- The defense has been the true wild card of this team and so far it has been a huge disappointment. The defense returned only four starters and no one has excelled. Aaron Donald has playmaking ability, but in order to break through, he needs help.
2. Tino Sunseri- Tino needs to take more risks, especially when the offense line allowed Sunseri to continuously be sacked. Even when he was free, he was throwing interceptions and clearly baffled and under prepared against the Cincinnati Bearcats. He will have to play like a senior, stay calm and lead this Panthers team if they have a chance.
3. Devin Street- Simply put, Devin Street is this team’s number one receiver, but he needs to play like it.
Why the Panthers will lose:
1. Defense plays the way these past two games then they might as well not even come to play.
2. Hokies play the way they are supposed to- This Hokies team is ranked for a reason and should have no problems with this Panthers teams, but they have been upset like this before, so they need to play Hokies football.
3. Frank Beamer- Beamer has the most wins among active football coaches with 253 and despite a tough start as Hokies head coach, this team will outcoach the Panthers, it’s just a matter of how they respond.
The Panthers certainly face an uphill battle in this game, but if they perform well then perhaps a new confidence is instilled and the Panthers can carry that into next Saturday against Gardner Webb.
This game will kickoff at noon and can be seen on ESPN-U.