Virginia Tech at Notre Dame Football Preview and Picks

The Virginia Tech Hokies are on the road to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looking to bounce-back from a disappointing loss at home to Georgia Tech that prevented them from winning the ACC Coastal title last week plus caused them to drop out of the College Football Playoff committee’s top 25 after being ranked 14th entering their game with Georgia Tech.

The Hokies are facing  4-6 Notre Dame team that has significantly underachieved this season, but is better than their record suggests and will enter this game with some desperation given how they must win both of their final games to go to a bowl game. On top of that, both teams will have to deal with unpleasant conditions with temperatures not expected to hit 40 degrees in addition to their being a serious chance for snow at some point in this game.

This game is important for both teams with Notre Dame looking to keep their slim bowl hopes alive while Virginia Tech is looking to regain some momentum before taking on the ACC’s worst team, Virgina in next Saturday’s Commonwealth Cup clash at Lane Stadium. With that, here are our staff’s picks for this big showdown between the Hokies and Fighting Irish.

Dwight Lester

How do you recover from a disappointing loss? That is the most important question facing the Virginia Tech Hokies this weekend. This weekend, the Hokies travel to one of the most storied programs in all the land. Virginia Tech faces a Norte Dame team that has been struggling this year, but my no means is a team that can be overlooked.

Last week, the Hokies suffered a terrible loss at the hands of a struggling Georgia Tech team. The team at times looked very disinterested and it showed as mistakes piled up and caused the loss. This week, the task isn’t much different, take care of business against a team who they should beat. However, this Notre Dame presents a more traditional challenge for the Hokies.

The Hokies will have to deal with a running quarterback once again in the form of DeShone Kizer. A running quarterback has been the bane of the Hokies’ defensive existence. The linebacking corps of the Hokies will once again be tested in stopping a dynamic quarterback who can beat you with his arm and his legs too.

The offense will need to play better as well this week. Cutting down on the turnovers and getting back to what got them to seven wins with two games left will be paramount in coming away with a win in South Bend. Jerod Evans is going to be key for the Hokies’ offensive success.

Evans has shown he can be dynamic and at the same time a little erratic, but he will need to be able to consistently get the ball to his star receivers on the outside with space to work. Also, running the ball is going to be more important as the weather could be a huge factor. The Hokies have shown they can be successful in foul weather as they showed against North Carolina

The Hokies don’t need this game to win the ACC, but a win over a prestigious program is always nice during any season. This game is going to be close, and I can see it coming down to a special teams play. Good thing the Hokies excel there, plus the last time a returner wore the magic “25”, he returned a punt for a touchdown. I look for the Hokies to bounce back and get their 8th win, 27-20.  Time to go 1-0, and as always fans, LETS GO HOKIES!!!!!

Prediction: Virginia Tech 27, Notre Dame 20

Henry Skutt

The Hokies make their first ever visit to South Bend to take on the Irish in a challenging matchup today. The weather will be nasty, the Hokies have been slumping, and Notre Dame is playing for their bowl hopes. It’s a recipe for a tough game, and I think that is exactly what we’ll have today.

Notre Dame has to win both of their final games to qualify for a bowl. Adding to that incentive will be the fact that the game against the Hokies is Senior Day for the Irish. The emotional motivation for a team that has struggled all season is there, and that’s dangerous for Virginia Tech. The way the team has played the last couple weeks does not bode well — especially because I’m anticipating this game to be sloppy and mostly run-based. Virginia Tech has not proved to be very effective at moving the ball on the ground at all against either Duke or Georgia Tech. Those two teams are not great on defense, and Notre Dame is much more talented than either one.

The Hokies enter the game today as an underdog, and I think that is a very valid assessment of the matchup. I think it’s a tough game, and the Hokies aren’t able to pull out a victory in their first visit to the iconic South Bend stadium. It’ll come down to the running game, and I don’t think the Hokies have it in them right now.

Prediction: Notre Dame 24, Virginia Tech 17

Tim Thomas

The Hokies make the trip to Notre Dame looking to turn things around after a disappointing loss to Georgia Tech that caused them to drop out of the top 25 from 14th. Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish are 4-6 and must win out to make a bowl game in what has been a tumultuous, disappointing season for Notre Dame after being seen as a potential national title sleeper at the beginning of the season.

The Hokies will face a major challenge against Notre Dame’s star mobile QB DeShone Kizer who may leave for the NFL Draft after this season. It will be critical for the Hokies to contain Kizer and limit his ability to make plays on the ground especially since conditions will not be ideal and with the Hokies having a much better defense than the Fighting Irish.

Jerod Evans struggled last week against Georgia Tech and will need to bounce back this week though the poor weather conditions will put more emphasis on the ground game with Evans and Travon McMillian playing major roles in that. If the Hokies can establish their running game early as they did against North Carolina, Virginia Tech will be in a much stronger position.

While the Hokies have had a much better season, Notre Dame ill be ready for a fight in what will be a very close game for both teams. The Hokies are the better team though and their experience with playing in poor conditions from their win over North Carolina will end up being valuable in this game.

This game will come down to the wire between the Hokies and Fighting Irish with the difference being which defense can get a stop or two more and that will be the Hokies who have been able to come up with some big stops in big moments and will do that again even if Kizer is able to do a lot throught the air and the ground. In a nailbitter, the Hokies will take down the Fighting Irish and give themselves a strong chance at returning to the top 25.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 23, Notre Dame 20

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