After a fumble and penalty-filled loss to Tennessee, the Virginia Tech Hokies have their focus on fixing their mistakes and getting ready to take on the Boston College Eagles in their ACC opener at Lane Stadium. The Hokies might be the favorites in this matchup but there is no room to overlook a Boston College team that has a talented defense.
With that said, here’s a look at the key matchups between the Hokies and Eagles.
WR Isaiah Ford vs. CB Kamrin Moore
With BC starting CB Gabriel McClary being 6’3”, fellow starting CB Kamrin Moore (5’11’) will be matched up against Isaiah Ford most likely a lot in this game with the Eagles very likely to put McClary against Bucky Hodges given the tremendous size of Hodges. While Moore was a starting cornerback for the Eagles for their first 8 games before suffering a season-ending injury, expect the Hokies to go after Ford against Moore or McClary in this game early and often.
Cam Sutton was able to slow dow Ford a little but the star junior wide receiver was still able to have 5 catches for 51 yards and could’ve had more if it wasn’t for an under-thrown deep ball by Jerod Evans after Ford gained some serious separation on Sutton after a very good juke move. Boston College may be one of the top defenses in the ACC but Ford is a mismatch against almost any cornerback in the country.
Expect Boston College to give Moore or whoever else may be covering Ford plenty of over-the-top help from a safety. However, the Hokies will likely get some one-on-one matchups with Ford and when they do, expect Jerod Evans to look to take advantage of them.
For Moore, there is no way that he and the Eagles will be able to stop Ford but the goal has to be to try to contain similar to how Tennessee did last week. If they can, the Eagles should make this a lot closer and lower-scoring game but that will be a very tough task.
DE Ken Ekanem vs. OT Aaron Monteiro
Ken Ekanem has looked like a significantly-better pass rusher in the Hokies’ first two games with 2.5 sacks in addition to also having 1 QB hurry and 9 overall tackles. Ekanem will go against a young but somewhat-experienced offensive tackle in sophomore Aaron Monteiro who started five times as a freshman at left tackle on a Boston College team that has been known for some solid offensive lines in the past.
Monteiro has the type of size that may have a few NFL scouts already looking at him as a player to keep an eye a couple years down the road but Monteiro faces one of his toughest assignments of the year going against the redshirt senior Ekanem. Ekanem has been a force throughout the first two weeks of the season and will undoubtedly be looking to add to his sack total this week as he seeks to end the season with over 30 career sacks.
It would not be surprising to see Boston College leave an extra tight end or have a tight end run a delayed route on some plays to try to slow Ekanem down and help give QB Patrick Towles more time in the pocket. For most of this game though, the Hokies will rely on Monteiro to contain Ekanem with Scot Loeffler potentially needing to use a tight end to block a blitzing linebacker.
Monteiro will be in for a tough matchup Saturday afternoon and Hokie fans can expect that Ekanem will be looking to take advantage and have another strong performance.
QB Patrick Towles vs. Virginia Tech’s LBs
Last week, Tennessee QB Joshua Dobbs wasn’t very effective through the air with under 100 passing yards but the Hokies were unable to contain him on the ground as Dobbs had 14 carries for 106 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. This week, the Hokies face another mobile quarterback in Patrick Towles.
Towles is averaging under 170 passing yards in his first two games with a 59% completion rate so far. Towles is similar in a lot of ways to Dobbs other than being not as good of a runner as Dobbs but still a decent threat on the ground. After the impressive ground performance last week from Dobbs, Scot Loeffler will likely look to create opportunities for Towles to make plays with his feet.
To counter Towles’s threat to run and Boston College’s run-first offense, Bud Foster will likely put eight in the box while also looking to use Andrew Motupuaka and Tremaine Edmunds in a semi-spy role to try to prevent Towles from turning great pass coverage into a quality scramble.
While Motuapuaka did have 15 tackles last week, the Hokies still struggled to slow down Dobbs, and it will be primarily up to the duo of Motuapuaka and Edmunds to step up and keep Towles in check. If the Hokies can force Towles to beat them through the air instead of giving him a chance to make plays with his legs, the Hokies will be in really good shape to not only win but also get a comfortable victory against Boston College.