On Saturday, Virginia Tech is expected to play in front of the largest crowd the football program has ever played. Ohio State's Ohio Stadium seats 104,944 and is expected to be at our near capacity.
For the Hokies, it's a record that should stand at least for two years. Virginia Tech will play Tennessee in 2016 at Bristol Motor Speedway, which is expected to hold at least 150,000 for the game.
Sill, Saturday will provide an opportunity on a big stage, in primetime, that the Hokies haven't been before. The previous largest crowd they've played in front of was 92,739 in 2007 at LSU.
And though Saturday's season-opening 34-9 win over William & Mary might not prepare Virginia Tech for the crowd size and atmosphere at Ohio Stadium, it did give the Hokies the opportunity to get a few areas in order, particularly the offense. Led by junior quarterback Michael Brewer, Virginia Tech gained 488 yards of total offense, 222 of it coming on the ground. And as a result, freshmen Shai McKenzie and Marshawn Williams have now leap-frogged junior J.C. Coleman as co-starters.
"You kind of go on performance," coach Frank Beamer said. "We certainly have great faith in J.C. I mean, a dependable guy. You know what's going to happen, but we also had some good production out of those first two. I think as long as there's competition, everyone's getting better, really."
Offensively, the Hokies were noted Saturday for using a no huddle, up-tempo approach that played well to Brewer's strengths. And Beamer expects it to get better.
"Each and every week, you try to get the tempo and change the tempo the way you want it or the way you're trying to get it to," Beamer said. "There's reasons for doing different things, so I think we keep working with it and hopefully get better at it."
Now, Beamer is ready for perhaps Virginia Tech's biggest opportunity this season. A win on national television, a prime time slot and against a national championship contender could elevate the Hokies back to national prominence.
"I think anytime you're playing a top program in the country, you know a team that people have mentioned for a national championship, and if you can go in there and get a win, it's great for the program," Beamer said. "And I think our kids, I know myself, are talking about the atmosphere. I like playing in a full stadium where they know Virginia Tech's there and their fans are excited."
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