Obviously when William & Mary hosts Georgia State Saturday night, one side will emerge victorious. Regardless of the team, they will do so for the first time this season.The Tribe (0-4, 0-2 CAA) have been close to tasting the thrill of victory with three losses coming by a combined seven points, including the season opening 7-6 defeat at Maryland. The televised (Comcast SportsNet, 7:00 p.m.) and first-ever meeting against the Panthers (0-4) is certainly an opportunity to break on through to the winning side.Coach Jimmye Laycock's squad looks to rebound after last week's 51-21 loss at Delaware and snap the program's longest losing streak to open a season since 1981. Though handled in phases by the then FCS No. 12 ranked Blue Hens - Delaware scored on offense, defense and special teams - William & Mary sophomore quarterback Raphael Ortiz threw for a career-high 262 yards. That mark could fall against a Panthers defense allowing 286 passing yards per game. Ortiz has thrown only one interception this season and leads the CAA with 14.1 yards per completion.Offense has not been the Tribe's strength - ninth among CAA teams with 14.5 points per game - though that could change against a Panthers' defense allowing a CAA-high 39.2 points. Leading rusher Meltoya Jones sat out the Delaware loss due to injury after running for a touchdown and career-high 90 yards against Towson. Defensively the Tribe rank fifth in the conference, allowing 329 yards per game while a special teams spark comes from punt returner B.W. Webb (19.1 yards per return, 6th nationally).While William & Mary have been lacing them on the gridiron for 118 seasons, Georgia State's program is in its infancy, playing its third season on a varsity level. Those early steps come with lots of wobbles, even with the program guided by longtime and former Alabama and Georgia Tech coach Bill Curry, who is stepping down from his post after the season.Unlike W&M, Georgia State has not participated in a nail biter this season as its closest game came last week, a 35-14 loss to Richmond in the Panthers first CAA opener. Next season Georgia State moves up to the FBS level as a member of the Sun Belt conference. Despite the affiliation with the CAA this season, the Panthers record does not factor in conference standings.Against the Spiders, running back Donald Russell topped the century mark for the second time this season with 119 rushing yards. The former Kentucky transfer averages 6.3 yards per carry and ranks third in the conference with 95.8 yards per game.Quarterback Ben McLane has thrown two touchdown passes and is averaging 124 passing yards per game.
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Jerod Evans threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third and Virginia Tech beat Miami 37-16 on Thursday night.
Evans hit Bucky Hodges with scoring throws of 7 and 12 yards, and Travon McMillian ran for 131 yards for the Hokies (5-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who kept pace with Coastal Division-leading North Carolina in the chase for a spot in the ACC title game.
Brad Kaaya threw for 323 yards and two touchdowns for the Hurricanes (4-3, 1-3), but he also was sacked eight times as they lost their third in a row.
The Hokies limited Miami to 42 rushing yards on 29 carries thanks to the sacks, which cost Kaaya 55 yards.
Woody Baron had three of the sacks for Virginia Tech, and fullback Sam Rogers threw his first career touchdown pass in the third quarter.
Miami: The Hurricanes have never won the Coastal Division since joining the ACC in 2004 and won't win it again this year. Their defense was supposed to be a question entering the game, and they were without three starters and had four freshmen in the starting lineup, but their inability to generate a running game put all the pressure on Kaaya, and while he put up some good numbers, an offensive line that allowed eight sacks isn't good enough to win most games against top level teams.
Virginia Tech: Evans was virtually mistake-free again, and their plethora of weapons in the pass game seems to be opening up the running game as well. Evans added 98 rushing yards, including a 34-yard score, as the Hokies piled up 253 yards on the ground. On defense, apart from last weekend's stunning loss at Syracuse, the Hokies have allowed only 36 points in their last four non-Syracuse games.
Miami visits Notre Dame next Saturday. The Fighting Irish are off this weekend, and have lost four of their last five.
Virginia Tech plays its second consecutive Thursday night game when it visits Pittsburgh, which is off this weekend.
San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey is the nation's leading rusher. In just six games, he already registered 1,111 rushing yards for an average of 185.17 yards per game.
What's more, he has been consistently great in his career and he now ranks 10th overall in career rushing yards among FBS players.
So does the Aztec running back have a realistic chance of winning the Heisman?
No, next question.
Sorry to be blunt about it, but the answer is no. The reason? Competition.
The level of competition seems to matter more to Heisman voters than the stats. That makes it very hard for players of non-power conference teams to even rank among the finalists.
Take Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds who was not even given an invite to New York last year despite his historic season last year. If you need more evidence that stats don't matter, how about Christian McCaffrey? McCaffrey broke Barry Sanders' record for all-purpose yards last season and still came in second in the Heisman ballots to Derrick Henry.
That's not to say that Henry wasn't deserving, he had a phenomenal season, but statistically he came nowhere near McCaffrey.
The question you must ask yourself is what would Pumphrey's numbers look like if he was playing against SEC teams every week? Would he still be having the same kind of season?
That's an impossible question to answer and an unfair one to ask. The fact is, Pumphrey is running all over Division 1 athletes. He's been phenomenal and would do much better if he was placed on the roster of a SEC or a Big Ten team than many may think. I certainly think he is deserving, but I don't vote for the Heisman.
Based on recent history, when the finalists gather in New York, Pumphrey will very likely not be among them.