The Hokies get started trying to bounce back from their first losing season since 1992. First up is Boston College. The Eagles have regularly given the Hokies trouble with a tough defense and strong running game. This year should be no different but this is a different looking Eagles team that the Hokies faced last season.
On offense, the Eagles return star running back AJ Dillon. Dillon is a player to watch and key to the Boston College offense. He is the type of runner who is difficult to bring down and is a threat to take it the distance if he gets some space or breaks a tackle. The Hokies young defensive line needs to bottle him up if they hope to slow down this offense. The best gameplan against the Eagles would be to stop the run and force Anthony Brown and his receivers beat the Hokies through the air. Tech will need to be prepared to stop the run sideline-to-sideline as the Eagles like to get their wide receivers involved in the running game.
On defense, the Eagles are breaking in some new starters. Only four starters from last year’s squad return. If the Hokies are to have success, they will need to challenge Boston College’s young secondary. This is an inexperienced group that the Hokies should be able to exploit with their senior quarterback and talented weapons on the outside. The Hokies need to hit on some big plays in the passing game.
Boston College had one of the least efficient special teams in the country last season. The Hokies should prepare to make some plays on special teams to take advantage of this matchup. This is particularly true in the first game of the season where special teams are normally not in mid-season form. There are some yards and field position to be had in the return game.
The Hokies have a talent advantage in this matchup. Boston College is normally a hard nosed team that is a tough out but the Hokies should have the horses to take care of business in this matchup. The key for Tech will be to not turn the ball over and the defensive line will have to keep AJ Dillon in check. If the defensive line is ineffective at containing the run, it could be a long day (see the Pitt game last year). This is a matchup where the Hokies have more weapons on offense and a defense that has played more snaps together than the guys on the other side. I see this as a lower-scoring game where we will see a couple gaffes on both sides but ultimately the Hokies come out on top.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 31, Boston College 24