The dramatic win against North Carolina is the type of win that can give a team confidence and momentum. The Hokies need to use that momentum going into a 5-game stretch run in November. A bowl game is still a very real possibility and so is a Coastal division championship. This is when the Hokies need to start playing their best football.
Special Teams: 19th
Special Teams: 73rd
Notre Dame is coming off a tough loss to Michigan. They will be looking to get back on track against the Hokies. The Irish offense is not hitting on all cylinders like it was then they came to Blacksburg last season. Notre Dame has a good quarterback but they are still trying to find a running game. A game played in cold weather is not great to be tossing around the football all day. Notre Dame will have to lean on Tony Jones Jr. and the running game. If the Irish are throwing the ball a lot, that’s likely a good thing for the Hokies.
Notre Dame has a talented and experienced defense. They have upperclassmen across the depth chart. The Irish have a very talented secondary that does not give up a lot through the air. If you want to beat Notre Dame, you have to establish a running game. The Hokies need to lean on Quincy Patterson (or Hendon Hooker, if healthy) to get the running game going. A game played with temperatures in the 30s, the team that is able to run the ball will likely win the game. Expect a lot of different looks in the running game, trying to get the quarterback, running backs, tight ends and wide receivers all involved in running the football.
The story of this game will be Notre Dame’s experience vs Virginia Tech’s inexperience. Notre Dame’s depth chart is full of 3rd, 4th, and 5th year players. Virginia Tech’s is full of 1st, 2nd and 3rd year players. Experience matters. And if this game was in 2020 or 2021, Virginia Tech would have a much better shot to win. But playing a Notre Dame team at home coming off a tough loss to Michigan, the odds become a lot tougher. The Hokies definitely have a shot in this game, more than the experts are giving them credit for. But in the end, Notre Dame has too much talent for the Hokies to keep up with. Expect this to be a close game going into the half, with Notre Dame pulling away in the 2nd half.
Prediction: Notre Dame 35, Virginia Tech 21