BLACKSBURG, Va. -

The Hokies return home to host Marshall on Saturday at noon. It's Virginia Tech's final non-conference game of the season.

Coach Frank Beamer expects another lunch pail effort from a defense that has been Tech's calling card in the first month of the season.

The Hokies defense is ranked second nationally through the first three weeks of the college football season. It's a group that has recorded 12 sacks and 7 turnovers, but it's also a group that knows there is plenty of room for improvement.

“I think last year we learned a good lesson that you can't go out there and just expect things to happen,” defensive end JR Collins said. “This year we are just taking it a day at a time, punching the clock every day.
“We're not thinking too much about where we are ranked right now. We've got a lot to work on. We've had success, but at the same time there are a lot of things we have to work on."

Through three games, the Hokies (2-1) are giving up just 190.7 yards per game. Beamer says athleticism and experience have been key.

“The more you pass rush off that edge and knock arms down and get angles and get leverage, the better you become,” Beamer said.

The defense faces another up-tempo test in Marshall on Saturday as the Tech program goes after its 700th win.

The Tech offense will try to produce more than two touchdowns in a game against a Bowl Subdivision opponent for the first time in nine games, dating back to last season.

The Hokies will see plenty of familiar faces on the opposite sideline on Saturday. 

Brandon Sparrow, the Thundering Herd's defensive end from Liberty High School in Bedford, played against Logan Thomas and Brookville during his high school days in the Seminole District.

JC Price, a vital piece of Virginia Tech's 1995 Sugar Bowl team, is now the defensive line coach at Marshall. 

The Hokies will wear white tops, and orange camouflage pants and helmets this weekend in honor of military appreciation day