Gameday has arrived in what is a not as wet as expected day in Blacksburg for the Virginia Tech Hokies’ ACC opener against the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Hokies and Panthers are both looking to start off ACC play well though some have labeled this as a semi-elimination game which may be a little extreme given the circumstances.
Pittsburgh being without James Conner helps the Hokies, but even though Chad Voytik was demoted to backup QB, Pittsburgh plans on using him. Voytik was very effective with his legs last year against the Hokies and Pitt will look to see if they can be nearly as successful as ECU was with a mobile quarterback in James Summers.
With Kendall Fuller done for the season, the responsibility of covering Pitt star WR Tyler Boyd goes to Brandon Facyson. Facyson has been gaining more confidence every week, but Boyd is one of the best in college football and many believe he may have a big game.
However, Facyson is no chopped liver himself as one of the top 10 cornerbacks and most underrated defensive backs in college football. Boyd will make some plays, but don’t be surprised if Facyson is able to do a fairly good job of containing the junior wide receiver.
Brenden Motley will face the toughest pass defense he has gone against all year, but the redshirt junior gets to do it at home. Motley threw the ball well in the rain last week, and the Hokies will be hoping for another strong start from him this week.
Motley goes against a Pittsburgh secondary with plenty of talent including their leading tackler, true freshman safety Jordan Whitehead. Whitehead may be the one covering Bucky Hodges in this game, and the former quarterback has been playing better and better. Motley will be ready to put up some points in conditions that will likely be better-than-expected though Whitehead and company will test him.
If there is one player that could be the x-factor, it’s Travon McMillian. McMillian is averaging 8 yards per carry so far and has shown plenty of big play ability in the first few games. The Hokies will likely try to get McMillian the ball in space and let him use his athleticism, speed, and agility to make some big plays.
Pittsburgh will push in this game, but Bud Foster will have many of the mistakes fixed from last week. Meanwhile, Brenden Motley will play well once again and put up points in his first home ACC game. Virginia Tech will put up a solid performance against Pittsburgh to start ACC play with a win.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 28, Pittsburgh 17