This is about as low as I can remember this program as long as I have been following them. Sometimes you’ll have a team that’s struggling but there is always something they do well that they can lean on. There isn’t a whole lot this team is doing well. There have been some individual players who have been bright spots but this team is struggling on both sides of the ball. That’s a tough combo going into conference play.
Special Teams: 86th
Special Teams: 70th
The Hokies aren’t the only team struggling on the offensive side of the ball, Miami is in the same situation. Miami starts a young offensive line but, as usual, still have a lot of talent at the skill positions. Expect Jarren Williams and DeeJay Dallas to have big games on the ground. I’m not too worried about their passing game but Jeff Thomas can do some damage getting open downfield. The Hokies need to watch for him when the run opens up the play action pass downfield. There should be some opportunities for big plays against the Hokies’ defense.
The Hurricanes have a talented and experienced defense. This could be one of the best defensive units the Hokies face all season. This team is great at stuffing the run and forcing teams to pass to beat them. The Hokies need to be able to block Miami’s talented trio of senior linebackers. If they can’t, it’ll be a long night for Hendon Hooker and the Hokies offense. Virginia Tech needs to focus on misdirection in the run game to hope to give them a chance to move the ball downfield. Hendon Hooker will need to effectively run the read option. That might slow down Miami’s defense a bit.
If the Hokies hope to stay in this game, the Virginia Tech defense needs to keep Miami’s offense off the board. If Miami is able to put up points in a hurry, this game can get out of hand quickly. Virginia Tech’s best chance to win is to keep this a low scoring game and have Hendon Hooker hit on some plays in the passing game. That will become easier if the Hokies can establish a running game. Completing passes will be challenging considering how well Miami keeps teams one-dimensional. What I am looking for is for effort and want-to from the Hokies. This past week fans and the media have been burying this team. It’d be great to see this team get off the mat and let everyone know this season isn’t over yet. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Prediction: Miami 31, Virginia Tech 7
The Hokies had a historically bad performance against Pitt. Don’t believe me? Read this. Or don’t. Either way, after a series of dismissals and injuries on defense, the Hokies are fielding a lot of 3rd and 4th options on defense. That’s not ideal on a defense that was young to begin with going into the season. You can see the results of all that youth and attrition.
Overall S&P+ Rank: 75th
Offensive S&P+ Rank: 49th
Defensive S&P+ Rank: 93rd
Special Teams S&P+ Rank: 57th
Overall S&P+ Rank: 30th
Offensive S&P+ Rank: 69th
Defensive S&P+ Rank: 10th
Special Teams S&P+ Rank: 117th
Miami doesn’t have a quarterback that is playing at a high level but they have a couple of running backs that can make the Hokies pay without having to put the ball in the air. Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas are both averaging over 5.5 yards per carry and have the ability to break big plays if the Hokies can’t fill their gaps and wrap up the ball carrier. Miami doesn’t have a particularly strong passing game but it might not matter against the Hokies.
Miami’s defense is very talented. This might be the best defense the Hokies will see all season. If the Hokies hope to win this game, they will need to be able to move the ball against this stingy defense. This year, Virginia Tech has not been able to run the ball consistently and if there is one area of Miami’s defense where they are more susceptible it’s on the ground. Unfortunately for the Hokies, Miami’s pass defense is one of the best in the nation. The Hokies will need to look to RPOs and read option to try to move the ball against this defense. This might be a good game to get either Quincy Patterson or Hendon Hooker involved in. Watch out for Miami’s talented linebackers Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney.
After the Boston College game, I had some optimism that this team was close to putting a complete performance together on offense and defense. That could still happen against Miami or UVA, but after the Pitt performance, they look like a team that is closer to packing it in for the season than putting together a complete performance. This team just looks overmatched. The biggest key for this team right now is to not quit. Not to give up on the season. Keep fighting and try to keep getting better week-to-week and even play-to-play. If you’re looking for some positives, it’s possible that the Hokies get Jerrod Hewitt, Rayshard Ashby and Deshawn McClease back this week. Ultimately, I think the Hokies will once again be overmatched on defense. I do believe the Hokies will play better on defense than they did last week. But I don’t think the offense will be able to put up points on Miami’s defense.
Prediction: Miami 31, Virginia Tech 17