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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Virginia Tech not overlooking WKU (10/4)

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By The Staff

By SUE LINDSEY The Associated Press BLACKSBURG, Va. — With Western Kentucky coming to Lane Stadium today, it’s a good time for Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer to get a feel for how his Hokies are progressing. “This is a week that we see if we’re right or not,” Beamer said. “We kept saying the important thing to us is to continue to improve. That’s a critical thing this week.” The 20th-ranked Hokies (4-1) showed how far they have come since a season-opening loss to East Carolina with a 35-30 victory at Nebraska last week, when the offense had its first strong showing of the season, gaining 377 yards. “We just want to keep this train moving,” tailback Kenny Lewis Jr. said. Western Kentucky coach David Elson said he thought the offense, behind quarterback Tyrod Taylor, vaulted the Hokies back into the top 25. “They have made a name as a program under Coach Beamer for the last 21 years on defense and special teams,” Elson said. Now, he said, “They’ve got it going in all three phases.” Beamer said the Hokies still need to improve in the red zone after settling for field goals four times at Nebraska. And Beamer isn’t discounting the Hilltoppers (2-3), in the final year of their transition to the Bowl Subdivision. Western Kentucky’s losses have come against quality opposition: Alabama, Indiana and Kentucky. “They do some things defensively that will confuse you if you are not careful,” Beamer said. “They are a feisty group.” But still it’s a group that has been outscored, 113-23 by major college opposition. The Hokies will be reminded of past slip-ups by Virginia Tech teams against big underdogs, losses to Temple in 1998, Miami of Ohio in 1997 and Cincinnati in 1995. Western Kentucky, which is in the process of becoming a full-fledged member the Bowl Subdivision and will compete in the Sun Belt next year, is looking forward to taking a shot at Virginia Tech’s traditionally strong defense. “We feel like we have a great mix of guys who can give us a great look,” Elson said. The Hokies will have a new starter among their defenders: Dorian Porch will be at rover to replace Davon Morgan, who is out for the season with a knee injury suffered in the Nebraska game. “They always tell you, ‘You’ve got to be ready,”‘ said Porch, who was called in during the second quarter last week. “We just treat each week like it’s the next most important week,” Porch said. The Hilltoppers are likely to have to deal with a rowdy homecoming crowd in 66,000-seat Lane Stadium, which is nearly three times the size of their own stadium. Elson said he’s been playing loud music in practice and getting his team to work on communicating and focusing in the chaos. That 28-24 loss to Temple in ‘98 was the last time Virginia Tech lost on homecoming. Odds are these Hokies will know all about that by today.