DUKE (5-2, 1-2 ACC) AT No. 14 (BCS) VIRGINIA TECH (6-1, 3-0 ACC)
WHEN: 3:30 p.m.
WHERE: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg.
THE SKINNY: Thursday's injury report made this game more interesting with the addition of cornerback Kyle Fuller (questionable with groin injury) to a list that already included cornerback Brandon Facyson (doubtful with concussion). If those guys can't play, pressure will instantly fall on cornerback Antone Exum, who will be playing for the first time this season. Tech's coaching staff worked during the off week to improve the running game and help provide some support for quarterback Logan Thomas and the developing passing attack. Keeping Duke's potent offense (29 completions of 20-plus yards) off the field will be critical for Tech.
PREDICTION: Tech 28-17.
GEORGIA TECH (4-3, 3-2 ACC) AT VIRGINIA (2-5, 0-3 ACC)
WHEN: 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville.
THE SKINNY: With Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech still on U.Va.'s schedule, this weekend's game along with a Nov. 9 game at North Carolina would appear to be the Cavaliers' best chances for wins, but stopping the Yellow Jackets' option will be tough for U.Va.'s banged-up defense. U.Va. quarterback David Watford will be facing a passing defense giving up just 203.7 yards per game. If it's going to snap a five-game losing streak, U.Va. must put aside any lingering hangover from last week's blown 22-point lead against Duke.
PREDICTION: Georgia Tech 38-24.
OLD DOMINION (4-3) AT NORFOLK STATE (2-5)
WHEN: 1 p.m.
WHERE: Dick Price Stadium, Norfolk.
THE SKINNY: Monarchs QB Taylor Heinicke (72 pct. completions, 2,400 yds, 16 TD, 6 int) is 139 yards away from 10,000 for his career. He might get that in the first quarter. ODU's task is to keep premier defenders Lynden Trail and Deon King (combined 11 sacks, 19 TFL) off of Heinicke. Norfolk State's offense averages just 14 ppg and has been inconsistent, owing to turnovers and a revolving door at quarterback. Barring the unusual, this is likely ODU's last game at an FCS opponent.
PREDICTION: ODU 51-17.
JAMES MADISON (5-2, 2-1 CAA) AT WILLIAM AND MARY (4-3, 1-2)
WHEN: 3:30 p.m.
WHERE: Zable Stadium, Williamsburg.
THE SKINNY: It's a crossroads game for both. The loser has a very uncomfortable final month, as postseason hopes dwindle. W&M is last in pass offense (153.9 ypg) and total offense (333.9 ypg) and likely without leading rusher Mikal Abdul-Saboor (knee). That said, JMU's young secondary has been vulnerable, so it's up to Tribe QB Michael Graham and receivers to take advantage. Dukes' RB Dae'Quan Scott (773 yds, 7 TD) is dangerous. QB Michael Birdsong (62 pct. completions, 1,574 yds, 13 TD, 8 int) is big, strong and improving. On defense, watch W&M safety Jerome Couplin and JMU LB Stephon Robertson. Among the best in FCS.
PREDICTION: JMU 27-23.
DELAWARE STATE (3-4, 3-1 MEAC) AT HAMPTON (2-5, 2-1)
WHEN: 1 p.m.
WHERE: Armstrong Stadium, Hampton.
THE SKINNY: Consecutive wins gave the Pirates new life. HU and its new offense have scored 58 points the past two weeks. Freshman QB Bryan Bailey (263 yds, 1 TD vs. NSU last week) makes good decisions and gets the ball to playmakers. Del State has allowed just 14 points the past two games, but is near the bottom of the MEAC in pass defense, allowing 231.4 ypg and 66 pct. completions. Hornets QB Cory Murphy (198 ypg) leads the league in passing yards, but they're last in scoring at 12.1 ppg.
PREDICTION: Hampton 31-20.
CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT (4-2, 1-2 USA South) AT GREENSBORO (2-5, 1-3)
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Jamieson Stadium, Greensboro, N.C.
THE SKINNY: It's a desire check for the Captains, whose postseason hopes took a hit with last week's loss to Maryville. CNU should be at or near full strength, particularly QB Marcus Morrast (51 pct. completions, 580 yds, 3 TD, 2 int), who has been battling a shoulder injury. RB Paul Dukes (621 yds, 5.3 avg) has been productive all season. Captains must improve a 36-pct conversion rate on third down and a dismal 8-for-21 TD conversion rate in the red zone. They've only scored 14 times in 21 red-zone chances.
PREDICTION: CNU 27-13.
EDWARD WATERS (0-7) AT APPRENTICE SCHOOL (1-5)
WHEN: 1 p.m.
WHERE: Apprentice Field
THE SKINNY: The first meeting between these schools brings a new look for Edward Waters College of Jacksonville, Fla., Former Bethune-Cookman coach Alvin Wyatt takes over for the remainder of the season. Both teams have been too generous to their opposition thus far -- the Tigers have turned the ball over 17 more times than their opponents, while the Builders have had 12 more than their opponents. If the Builders can contain the triple-option attack of Edward Waters, averaging 176 rushing yards per game, they have a chance at win No. 2.
PREDICTION: Apprentice 21-20.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun