At 3-5, the Virginia Tech Hokies need a win against the Boston College Eagles on the road to help keep their decent chances of making a bowl game alive still. The Eagles may also be 3-5 and without an ACC win, but Boston College will be looking to pull off the upset in a game between two former Big East rivals.
Now, let’s take a look at the keys to the game for the Hokies against Boston College.
Contain the Boston College Rushing Attack
Boston College has one of the worst passing attacks in college football with the second-worst completion percentage (only Georgia Southern is worse) and fifth least passing yards in the nation. The Eagles’ passing attack even has less passing yards than Paul Johnson and Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack.
Today, the Virginia Tech defense needs to step up, and shut down the Boston College rushing attack to force the Eagles to try to beat them through the air. If the Hokies are successful, the Eagles could get shut out for the third time this season.
The Eagles have multiple solid running backs that likely will rotate in throughout the game, but the Eagles do not have an elite running back necessarily. Last week, Louisville was able to contain Boston College completely and hold them to only 79 total yards of offense though the Eagles still only lost by three thanks to turnovers by the Cardinals.
If there is one guy who may be the main ball carrier, it could be Myles Willis who had 15 carries for 88 rushing yards against Clemson. However, Bud Foster and the Virginia Tech’s defense needs to step and shut down Boston College’s rushing attack whether they go traditional or try to beat Virginia Tech with a mobile quarterback of some sorts if they have a healthy one.
Offensive Line Must Play Well
The Virginia Tech offensive line has made progress this season, but face a tough matchup today against a Boston College defense that is top in the nation in least amount of rushing yards allowed per game this season. Stacy Searels will need to get his starters ready to go in this game, and fight in the trenches for four quarters to create space for Travon McMillian.
Virginia Tech’s offensive line has the potential to get the job done and give McMillian the chance to make plays, but the Hokies’ offensive line has also had some games that have left fans frustrated. Today, may be the offensive line’s toughest test since the Hokies faced Ohio State on Labor Day night almost two months ago.
McMillian doesn’t need too much space to make a big play, but the Hokies need to do everything they can to get him just enough space to get the job done. Guys like Wyatt Teller and Augie Conte need to create space for McMillian to make some big runs whether they are opening the hole or pulling around the center to create some extra space for the outside run.
Can Virginia Tech’s offensive line step up? If they do, this game has the potential to not be very close for those watching the game.
Playing Like It’s A Must-Win
This game is a must-win for the Hokies to keep their bowl streak alive, and Virginia Tech must step up in this game and every single game left on the schedule in order to have a chance to keep the streak alive. With Georgia Tech in 12 days and North Carolina the following week, this is a critical game for the Hokies to win.
Frank Beamer will not want to miss a bowl game this season, especially with it being almost certainly his last season in Blacksburg with many believing an announcement of his retirement could be coming during the bye week. Beamer has built Virginia Tech into a nationally-recognized name-brand program, and to miss a bowl game in his final season would be terrible.
The Hokies don’t have much left to play for other than to get to a bowl game and avoid a losing streak along with giving fans hope that next year can be the big turnaround season, especially with a trip to Notre Dame and the Battle at Bristol against Tennessee next season.
The Hokies need to rise the occasion of the game, but will they? Hopefully, the answer is yes.