Games to watch

September 13, 2013 

Elon Georgia Tech Football

Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee (2) is shown against the Elon in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Atlanta, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.

JOHN BAZEMORE — AP

Georgia Tech (1-0) at Duke (2-0)

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m., Wallace Wade Stadium

TV/Radio: ESPNU, WKIX-102.9, WDNC-620

PPG: Georgia Tech 70, Duke 36.5

Allowed: Georgia Tech 0, Duke 7

3 and out

•  Keep an eye on: Redshirt sophomore quarterback Vad Lee. The Hillside graduate had a field day the last time he returned to the Triangle, running roughshod over North Carolina for 169 passing yards and 112 rushing yards and three total touchdowns (two rushing, one passing). Lee is not called upon much to pass the ball – his career high for completions is 10 against UNC – but he has rushed for two touchdowns in a game (three times) almost as often as he’s passed for one touchdown (five times).

Lee proved he could get it done with his arm over Elon in the opener, passing for 189 yards and two touchdowns to go along with his 49 yards rushing and a touchdown, but will face a much tougher defense at Wallace Wade in Duke.

•  Magic number: Nine. The Yellow Jackets have won their last nine games against the Blue Devils, including their last four games at Wallace Wade. Georgia Tech has never lost to Duke under Paul Johnson (5-0). The last victory for the Devils came in 2003 when they blew out the Jackets, 41-17, in Durham to end a seven-game winning streak for Tech at the time.

•  Why Duke is the underdog: Lee is just one weapon the Jackets have on the ground for a team that rushed for 368 yards in their first game. Backs like David Sims and Zach Laskey, both of whom ran for over 600 yards last season, return alongside freshmen Justin Thomas, a backup quarterback, and Dennis Andrews.

Duke has never beaten Johnson’s option offense and, despite having some experience behind center with redshirt junior Brandon Connette, will be without opening day starter Anthony Boone due to a broken collarbone.

Louisiana-Monroe (1-1) at Wake Forest (1-1)

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m., BB&T Field

TV/Radio: RSN, ESPN3, WDRU-105.7, WDRU-1030

PPG: Louisiana-Monroe 24, Wake Forest 20.5

Allowed: Louisiana-Monroe 22, Wake Forest 15.5

3 and out

•  Keep an eye on: Senior quarterback Kolton Browning. The 2012 Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year is the ULM career leader in touchdown passes and ran for a team-leading 488 rushing yards last season including a marquee win over Arkansas.

Browning struggled in an opening loss at Oklahoma but bounced back with three touchdown passes in a win against Grambling State last week. He is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the Sun Belt.

•  Magic number: 21-9. The Deacons’ record against non-conference opponents during the Jim Grobe era. This is their first game against a Sun Belt team.

•  Why Wake Forest is favored: The Deacons may be looking to rebound from a tough conference loss to Boston College, 24-10, but size should help Wake move to 2-1 on Saturday. ULM’s defensive line, just two defensive ends and a nose tackle in the 3-4 defense, averages 264 pounds, while the Wake offensive line is an average of 307 pounds – a 43-pound difference.

Those numbers could open up a running game that the Deacons didn’t possess against BC. Senior running back Josh Harris needs to get going – he’s averaging just 23.5 yards per game. His production could open the passing game for Tanner Price and the tandem of Michael Campanaro and Jonathan Williams.

Virginia Tech (1-1) at East Carolina (2-0)

Kickoff: Noon, Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium

TV/Radio: Fox Sports 1, WPTK-850, WNCT-107.9

PPG: Virginia Tech 27.5, East Carolina 41.5

Allowed: Virginia Tech 19, East Carolina 25.5

3 and out

•  Keep an eye on: Redshirt senior quarterback Logan Thomas. Through two games, Thomas has passed for just one touchdown and three interceptions, while completing just 22-of-57 passes – including just five, of 26 passes against Alabama.

Virginia Tech needs Thomas to return to form and be the quarterback who averaged nearly 3,000 yards passing for the past two seasons.

•  Magic number: 11. East Carolina has won 11 of its past 12 games when scoring 30 or more points but have lost 11 consecutive when failing to score at least 20. ECU is averaging 41.5 points.

•  Why East Carolina is the underdog: Va. Tech’s defense has looked stellar – 21 points against Alabama came off punt/kick returns and a 38-yard pick-six. The Hokies have yet to give up a scoring drive of more than 50 yards this season and gave up the one field goal to Western Carolina on a drive that amassed minus-1 yards.

Meanwhile, the Pirates are down two of their starting linebackers in Jeremy Grove, one of ECU’s best defenders, and Kyle Tudor. ECU will have to rely on sophomore Zeek Bigger and junior Brandon Williams with star recruit and true freshman Devaris Brunson also expected to see some time.

Other area games

N.C. Central (1-1) at Charlotte (2-0), noon, Charlotte: NCCU edged Division II St. Aug’s 23-20 in double-overtime last week. As a reward, the Eagles will travel to Charlotte, which has won its first two games in program history – 52-7 over Campbell and 47-7 over Chowan. Charlotte QB Matt Johnson has completed 42-of-59 passes for 538 yards and eight touchdowns.

St. Augustine's (0-1) at Wingate (0-0), 1:30 p.m., Wingate: The Eagles lost a heartbreaker to N.C. Central in their opener but face a familiar opponent in Wingate, a team they beat 28-10 last season in Durham. If St. Aug’s can get another good performance from quarterback A.J. Guilford and halfback Roderick Davenport, the defense looks to be in good hands with Chaz Robinson, who leads the CIAA with 19 tackles.

Charleston-Southern (2-0) at Campbell (1-1), 2 p.m., Buies Creek: Campbell got its first win in the Mike Minter era last Saturday with a 56-21 victory over Virginia-Wise. Charleston-Southern features a backfield that has rushed for five touchdowns with four different players.

Shaw (1-0) at Virginia Union (0-1), 7 p.m., Richmond: Marquise Grizzle ran for 147 yards on 26 attempts and two touchdowns in Shaw’s opening 44-14 win over Charleston (W.Va.). Virginia Union lost 66-7 Bethune-Cookman.

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