Today, Frank Beamer will lead the Virginia Tech Hokies against the Virginia Cavaliers for the last time with the Hokies looking to extend their nation’s longest bowl streak to 23 years. Meanwhile, Virginia will be looking for a lot of revenge, and their first win over the Hokies since 2003 to snap an 11-game losing streak to the Hokies.
Even though both teams are below .500 and the Hokies are the only one that can still make a bowl game, both teams will approach this game like these teams are playing at a much higher level with Virginia likely seeing this as a bowl game for themselves this season.
The Hokies will look to have a lot more success running the football this week with Travon McMillian after he averaged 3.8 yards per carry against UNC with 21 carries for 80 yards. However, the Hokies face a below-average Virginia rush defense that has given up an average of 4.7 yards per carry this season.
In his first time playing in this rivalry, McMillian has the potential to have a big game in front of what will be a fairly large group of Hokie fans among the UVA fans at Scott Stadium.
Michael Brewer will face one of the toughest secondaries he has faced all season in the Virginia Cavaliers led by safety Quin Blanding and cornerback Maurice Canady. Canady will likely be matched up with the talented Isaiah Ford in what may be one of the best matchups of the day between two of the top players at their respective positions in the ACC.
Brewer has the weapons to make plays still as Ford or Bucky Hodges may be double covered while Cam Phillips and Ryan Malleck likely will be single-covered all-afternoon. If Brewer can avoid forcing throws that just aren’t there, the Hokies could be in really good shape against Virginia.
Matt Johns has started to play better, but he has thrown 15 interceptions this season, and Virginia Tech will definitely look to force some more turnovers from him today. Johns does not have too much talent to get the ball to with Cannan Severin, who is questionable to play, and Taquan Mizzell being the only two players with 21 or more receptions this season.
Virginia Tech needs to find ways to get plenty of pressure on Johns, and it would not be surprising to see Deon Clarke, Andrew Moutapuaka, or both used on blitzes a lot by Bud Foster. If the Hokies can get Johns into some errant throws early, the Virginia Tech defense will reap the benefits in this game.
Mizzell is a unique threat the Hokies have to be prepared for in that he has game-changing speed, but is way more effective in the passing game, leading Virginia with 68 receptions, than in the running game where he only averages 4.2 yards per carry.
The Hokies need to make sure they have at least a safety in Chuck Clark or a former defensive back turned whip linebacker like Anthony Shegog covering the junior. Mizzell will do some damage, but containing him will make a big difference.
Both teams will be motivated to win this one for their coaches, but the Hokies are definitely the better football team, and will play with tons of energy wanting to extend Frank Beamer’s career one more game. Travon McMillian will lead the way on the ground once again, and the Hokies will be headed to a 23rd-straight bowl game.