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Virginia Tech notebook: Defense may take hit if Kwamaine Battle's injury is serious

BLACKSBURG -- Virginia Tech's efforts to shore up its defense this coming week in practice may take another hit if Kwamaine Battle is hampered by a knee injury he suffered in Saturday's 21-16 loss to James Madison.

Battle, a junior defensive tackle who was making the second start of his career, sustained a sprained left knee with 2:30 remaining in the first quarter on a 1-yard run by JMU quarterback Drew Dudzik. Battle didn't return to the game. He was replaced by sophomore Antoine Hopkins, who finished the game with four tackles, including a sack.

If Battle is out for an extended period, No. 13 Tech (0-2) could start to get awfully thin on the defensive line. Defensive end Chris Drager started in Monday's 33-30 loss to No. 3 Boise State, but he suffered a knee injury in the game and sat out against JMU. Redshirt freshman J.R. Collins opened the game against the Dukes, and recorded three tackles.

Another rough day

Tech's Jeron Gouveia-Winslow has been learning the intricacies of the outside linebacker position in the first two games, but it hasn't been an easy stretch.

In his first career start against Boise State, he watched as the game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Austin Pettis soared over his head and over his outstretched arm with 1:09 left in the game. On Saturday, he took a bad angle and was out of position on JMU running back Jamal Sullivan's 77-yard touchdown catch.

Gouveia-Winslow, a sophomore, also had at least two other missed tackles against JMU. On JMU's final drive, he let quarterback Drew Dudzik get by him near the line of scrimmage on a third-and-2 read option play from JMU's 26 that resulted in a 14-yard gain and helped the Dukes milk the clock.

"Coach got us in position to make the plays," Gouveia-Winslow said. "I just didn't get it done -- got to wrap up. I lost my footing. Just didn't get it done."

Dubious distinction

Tech became just the second team ranked in the Associated Press poll to lose to a Football Championship Subdivision opponent.

In 2007, Appalachian State knocked off No. 5 Michigan 34-32 in Ann Arbor, Mich. Appalachian State won the game on a 27-yard field goal by Julian Rauch with 26 seconds remaining.

Streak snapper

With the loss, Tech said farewell to a 32-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents. Since 1991, the Hokies are now 48-8-1 against non-conference foes in Lane Stadium.

Tech's last loss at home against a non-conference opponent came in '98, when Virginia rallied to defeat Tech 36-32. In '98, Tech was a member of the Big East Conference.

Getting on the board

When Sullivan scored on his 77-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, it marked the first time the Dukes had scored against the Hokies since '92 -- a span of 10 quarters.

Of course, Saturday's game was just the third time Tech and JMU had played since '92. In the previous two meetings before Saturday, Tech had outscored JMU by a combined score of 90-0.

No punts

Tech didn't have a single punt in Saturday's game, marking just the second time under coach Frank Beamer the Hokies haven't punted in a game. The only time came in 2004, when Tech defeated Florida A&M 62-0.

Moving up

Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor, a Hampton High graduate, accounted for 210 yards (124 passing and 86 rushing) against JMU, which moved him into second place all-time on Tech's career total offense list.

He has 6,280 yards, passing former quarterback Maurice DeShazo, who had 6,105 yards from '91 to '94. Now, only Bruton High graduate Bryan Randall is ahead of Taylor. From '01 to '04, Randall accumulated 8,034 yards.

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