College Football: Delaware vs Virginia Tech - D1SportsNet
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College football

Delaware vs Virginia Tech


BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech redshirt freshman Josh Jackson passed his first test as a new starting quarterback, but there are many more challenges ahead.

An important one presents itself this week when the 18th-ranked Hokies (1-0) host FCS foe Delaware (1-0) on Saturday at Lane Stadium.

Jackson, who impressed in his first college start Sunday night in a 31-24 victory over West Virginia, had ample time to prepare for the Mountaineers. Now he must get ready for a new opponent on a short week.

"I'm sure he feels good about it," Hokies coach Justin Fuente said of Jackson's debut, during which he accounted for 336 total yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers in a nationally televised contest at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

"The challenge for him is we've had several weeks to prepare for the West Virginia defense and those looks and the checks and all of those things. Now he's going to have to be able to do it in six days, so that'll be another step for him in terms of digesting the game plan, getting as comfortable as he was with the game plan this week for next week in a much shorter amount of time."

Jackson said he was studying West Virginia game tape as early as January in preparation for the opener. He'll have a decidedly shorter time to prepare for Delaware.

"I think I'll be ready. ... I think I'll be just as prepared as I was for this game," Jackson said Sunday night.

Delaware is coming off a 22-3 home victory over Delaware State last Thursday in the debut for first-year head coach Danny Rocco.

The Fighting Blue Hens racked up a considerable yardage advantage against the Hornets (432-224) but struggled to reach the end zone, scoring their only two touchdowns in the final 18 minutes.

They head to Blacksburg for their first-ever meeting with Virginia Tech. Delaware has dropped its last six games against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents, a streak that includes losses to ACC opponents in each of the previous three seasons.

"We'll have our hands full, but we're certainly excited about the opportunity," Rocco said.

Rocco is familiar with the Hokies from his days as an assistant at Virginia from 2001-05. After his time in Charlottesville, Rocco had head coaching jobs at Liberty (2006-11) and Richmond (2012-16) before making his way to Delaware.

While the personnel has changed, Rocco knows what is in store for his team when it faces off against Virginia Tech.

"They've got some new names and some new faces out there playing, but the product looks so much the same," Rocco said. "They're an athletic defense, they're fast, and on offense they're physical. Their running backs run hard and (wide receiver Cam Phillips) is an exceptional football player."

Phillips caught seven passes for 138 yards and a touchdown Sunday against the Mountaineers. The senior, who is on pace to become Virginia Tech's career leader in receptions and receiving yards, was a go-to target for Jackson, who passed for 235 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 101 yards and a score.

Jackson became the first Tech player since Logan Thomas in 2013 to pass for more than 200 yards and rush for more than 100 in a game.

"Obviously we're happy with the first win," Jackson said. "It's only one win at the end of the day, so we've got to continue to work and continue to get better and just get ready for the next game."

Virginia Tech's defense struggled at times against West Virginia's Air Raid offense. The Hokies allowed 592 total yards, their highest output allowed since yielding 598 in a 2007 loss at eventual national champion LSU.

"I wish everything had been a little more consistent," Fuente said.

Delaware had a similar feeling about its performance in its opener.

"I felt like we were executing things, but when it came down to crunch time, converting third downs, getting into the end zone, we just didn't do that very well," said Blue Hens wide receiver Diante Cherry, who caught a 31-yard touchdown pass and ran 19 yards for another score. "We just have to watch the film and see what we can do better as a team."


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