Virginia Preview and Prediction

Clemson left the door open to make the game competitive but every time the Hokies got an opportunity they gave it right back to Clemson. The hustle and effort were there from kickoff, which was good to see. But against a talented team like Clemson, things didn’t seem to go the Hokies way. The good news is that the team did not quit on the season. Which is important leading into the UVA game.

Virginia was able to find a Bryce Perkins replacement in one offseason. Brennan Armstrong does a lot of the things that Bryce Perkins did well — like run with the ball and find an open man under pressure. He leads the team with 529 rushing yards. He has also thrown for over 2,000 yards, 18 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. If the Hokies hope to stop the Virginia offense, they will need to key on Brennan Armstrong’s running ability and make him beat them through the air.

The Virginia defense is a tough matchup for the Hokies. They are great at stopping the run but not very good at stopping the pass. Unfortunate for the Hokies that they are a run-first team. Virginia’s struggles in coverage should allow some opportunities for the Hokies to go downfield and find some guys open for big plays. Getting Tre Turner back and healthy for this game would be a big boost. If he’s not available, the Hokies will need to lean on James Mitchell and Tayvion Robinson in the pass game. If all QBs are available, you may see some rotating between Hendon Hooker and Braxton Burmeister.

These teams are pretty evenly matched. If the Hokies defense can show up the way they did against Miami and Clemson, they have a good chance to win this game. Khalil Herbert will find more running room against Virginia than he did against Pitt and Clemson. Tre Turner’s availability is a big X factor to keep an eye on. The Hokies need to play smart and take care of the ball. If they do, they have a good chance to win. But if they squander opportunities and turn the ball over, like they did against Pitt and Clemson, they’ll tilt the game toward the ‘Hoos. All things being equal, I like the Hokies by a field goal.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 27, Virginia 24

Clemson Preview and Prediction

The wheels came off the wagon against Pitt. That’s one of those ugly losses that has become common in recent years – like the Pitt game in 2018 and the Duke game in 2019. This coaching staff has been able to rally the troops after those two losses. But it will be much harder this time with Clemson next on the schedule.

Clemson is one of the dominant college football programs of the 21st century. This year is no exception. If anything they may be better than they have been with all-everything quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Not to mention do-it-all super senior Travis Etienne. It’s hard to imagine a more balanced and potent offensive attack than what Clemson brings to the table. If you need to look for a weakness, they don’t have the strongest running game by the numbers. But why run the ball when you have Trevor Lawrence throwing the football?

The Clemson defense is as good as it’s ever been. They allow 19.2 points per game. This is a defense that can lock you down and make you one-dimensional. In the case of the Hokies, that means stuff the run and make Virginia Tech beat them through the air. And given how talented Clemson’s secondary is, that will be a tough task. The Hokies will need to try to be balanced but that will be difficult against a talented and deep Clemson defense.

It’s no surprise Clemson is the class of the ACC. This is a talented, deep and experienced team. Most ACC teams have weaknesses that teams can exploit. Clemson really doesn’t have any. At least not enough that can turn the game in the Hokies favor. The Hokies may be able to cash in on a couple of big plays and put some points on the board. But it’s difficult to see them be able to do that for 60 minutes. You can expect Clemson to put a lot of points on the board. This is a game where you can be happy if the Hokies keep it competitive. Clemson has been steamrolling everyone they’ve played this year with Trevor Lawrence under center. And with the College Football Playoff around the corner, you know they’ll be looking for style points.

Prediction: Clemson 52, Virginia Tech 17

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