This is a must win. Can you imagine Mike London’s team ending Frank Beamer’s last season with a loss and snapping the bowl streak? Neither can I. But realistically, it could happen.
The Hoos are a middling team, as they have been for the past decade or so. They’ve been surprisingly tough at home. They’ve taken Notre Dame, Pitt, Miami and Louisville to the final whistle. This doesn’t appear to be a UVA team that you can put away early.
On offense, UVA is effective in the passing game. They are ranked 45th in the nation in passing offense and move the ball pretty well thru the air. With a banged up Brandon Facyson, that could be something to watch for.
When VT has the football, they are going up against a defense that hasn’t been particularly impressive. By the numbers, it’s a struggling offense against a struggling defense. The Hokies will need a big day from Travon McMillian in order to move the ball consistently.
If there is one area where the Hokies should have an advantage, it is on special teams. Even though it may not seem like it, the Hokies have been very efficient on special teams this year and in a close game like this, it could play to the Hokies advantage. Watch for this particularly on punt and kick returns.
The stats show the Hokies as a slight favorite in this matchup. If you’re looking from a talent standpoint, the Hokies should have a moderate talent advantage over the Hoos. If the Hokies play as well as they did against UNC, they should win by two scores. Ultimately, I think it’ll be a close game just like last year’s game was. Whoever makes the biggest mistake or the worst mistake will lose. Hopefully, the Hokies find a way to win and make it twelve straight and send Beamer to his 23rd bowl game.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 24, UVA 17
This game is a mismatch. Not much in this matchup favors the Hokies. North Carolina is firing on all cylinders and are winners of nine straight. It’s hard to see a way that the Hokies can win this game.
North Carolina is a great rushing team with an even better running quarterback. Better hope that the Hokies have somehow figured out a way to contain a running quarterback otherwise Marquise Williams could run for 200 yards. There are plenty of playmakers to worry about on the UNC offense. This group is firing on all cylinders. No one has come close to stopping them in the last two games.
The defense is beatable but will require dedication to running the football. This is not a team that you can easily beat through the air. A consistent running game will control the clock and keep the UNC offense off the field. That is a good formula to beat these guys.
If you’re looking for reasons to be hopeful, UNC has only played two true road games this season. TWO! And both of them went down to the last possession. A seven point win against Georgia Tech and a seven point win against Pitt. Since then they’ve blasted Duke at home by 35 and Miami at home by 38.
My sense is that UNC is a team that thrives at home and may be feeling a bit too good about themselves going into a difficult road game at Virginia Tech. This should be the best crowd the Hokies have seen since the Ohio State game and should be at full throat from start to finish. On paper, the Tarheels are a much better team. These games aren’t played on paper and the Hokies should have the emotional edge. I’m not picking against Frank Beamer in his last home game. Go Hokies!
Prediction: Virginia Tech 34, UNC 28
Do it for Frank. The Hokies have a terrible habit of playing flat coming out of a bye week. I really hope this is a different type of bye week with Coach Beamer announcing his retirement 10 days ago. My hope is that we will see a team reinvigorated to win two out of the next three and get Beamer to his 23rd consecutive bowl game and see him off on a high note.
This is certainly a winnable game. This one reminds me of the game against Boston College. Georgia Tech is flawed team. This explains why they are 3-6 overall and 1-5 in conference. They have a respectable offense but not the high powered attack we’re used to from them. But certainly still enough firepower to put some points on the board. This is a team you have to outscore. If you can’t counter their scores, you could find yourself in a difficult position.
I mentioned that this a flawed team and their flaw comes on the defensive side of the ball. This was a bad defensive team to begin with and now they are missing two of their top three defensive tackles. Couple that with inexperience at the linebacker position and you find a team that struggles to stop the run. If the Hokies can stick to the run, we should see a big game from Travon McMillian. Georgia Tech has experienced and talented players in the secondary, so you want to try to run the ball against them. I think we should see the Hokies put up some points this week. They should have the matchup advantage when they have the ball.
I wish I had a read on how this team was going to react to Coach Beamer announcing his retirement. Honestly, we just don’t know. I’m sure the players were just as shocked as we all were when the announcement became known. My guess and hope is that they use it as a rallying cry. I truly feel like this team has been close to putting it all together all year. Hopefully, this is what the need to string together a couple of complete performances. Let’s see if they get off to a good start on this critical three game stretch. I’d love to see Coach Beamer get one last bowl game.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 31, Georgia Tech 24