The Virginia Tech Hokies and Miami Hurricanes face off tonight in Lane Stadium in what is a critical ACC Coastal showdown between two teams looking to bounce back from getting upset last week. Both the Hokies and Hurricanes know that a win should put them back in the top 25 while a loss will severely hurt the Hokies’ Coastal chances or just about eliminate the Hurricanes in the Coastal.
While this game isn’t the top 20 showdown that it seemed poised to be last week, this game will feature two teams desperate to stay in the Coastal picture with the loser once again not being nationally relevant. With that said, here are our predictions for tonight’s huge showdown in Lane Stadium between the Hokies and Hurricanes.
Virginia Tech stumbles into this game after a disappointing loss to a pass-happy Syracuse team. The defense was able to somewhat slow down the spread attack, but the most disappointing thing about that game was how inefficient the offense looked. We’ve seen how good Jerod Evans and Co. can be, and I expect that to be on full display tonight in a huge ACC matchup with Miami.
This game has huge implications for the Coastal race. A win for the Hokies would put them further in the driver’s seat, but a loss might just make it impossible to make the ACC Championship game. I expect Fuente to have his team ready to go, and the crowd should also be a huge factor. This game has been circled on the calendar ever since the schedule was released way back in February.
Look for the Hokies to come out fast, feed off the energy of the crowd, and deliver a strong performance against a Miami team that was 10th in the nation just two weeks ago. Whether that means a victory or not depends on the defense and their ability to return to their shutdown ways. If the defense can play like they did against East Carolina or Boston College, it should be a win for the Hokies. However, if they give up 500 yards like they did last week, Miami should win handily. I am leaning towards the former rather than the latter in this case. Bud Foster should have them ready to get after Miami.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 31, Miami 20
It’s been a tough five days Hokie fans. Saturday was a devastating loss at the hands of a Syracuse team that was supposed to be not that big of a challenge. Well, not as big of a challenge as this Thursday night. Miami presents a separate set of challenges entirely different than from last week.
Miami, by most accounts, is Virginia Tech’s main hurdle in claiming the Coastal division crown. The Miami offense is a pro-style offense capable of exploding at any time. The Hokie defense will need to be at the top of their game in order to stop Brad Kaaya from torching the Hokies through the air. Pressure is going to be very important for the Hokies to stop this passing attack.
However, two of the Hokies’ pass rushers up front showed up on the injury report. Ken Ekanem and Nigel Williams both were banged up after the Hokies’ loss to Syracuse. If they are limited or unable to play at all, the Hokies will have to depend on some reserves to step up big time. I look for big Tim Settle to seize the opportunity and create all kinds of havoc.
The Hokie defense can not afford to give up a ton of points. The offense has shown they are capable of putting up lots of yards and points. However, it would be nice if the pressure was not so great to score a touchdown every possession. I look for Jerod Evans to continue his stellar season, and lead the Hokies up and down the field. Isaiah Ford is only one touchdown from setting the school record. It’s a safe bet that Evans’s favorite target will be getting into the end zone.
The Hokies are going to be in a dog fight for sure on Thursday night, but Lane Stadium is a magical place on Thursday nights. Miami has been a victim of this magic before. I believe the magic has returned to Lane with a combination of new blood and the old guard. This Thursday will be the announcement to the nation that the Hokies are not to be overlooked. The magic propels the Hokies to a big Coastal win, 27-13. Let’s Go Hokies.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 27, Miami 13
The Hokies and Hurricanes face off in what may be the biggest remaining Coastal game of the 2016 season with Virginia Tech looking to stay in control of their own destiny in the Coastal and Miami looking to avoid being basically eliminated from contention in the division.
Both teams have talented offenses but both have different strengths as the Hokies’ spread attack has an exciting passing game led by Jerod Evans who has been able to make plays through the air and with his legs. Meanwhile, Miami has a balanced pro-style offense with future high draft pick QB Brad Kaaya leading the passing attack and a two-headed rushing attack monster in Mark Walton and Joseph Yearby both having over 400 rushing yards and averaging over 5 yards per carry.
This matchup also has two of the best defenses in America with Miami and Virginia Tech both being in the top 15 in total defense and scoring defense. Bud Foster is arguably the best defensive coordinator in the country while Manny Diaz has a strong reputation as a very good defensive mind that knows how to put together some talented defenses.
While the Hokies’ defense has a couple of starters that are questionable, the Miami defense has a lot bigger issues with two defensive starters out on a defense that is already set to start at least two true freshman linebackers on the road in an environment unlike nothing that they have experienced.
Miami’s pro-style offense is also a better matchup for Bud Foster’s defense who will be ready to put up a strong performance in this big game. Meanwhile, Miami’s defense struggled some against Mitch Trubisky last week and will see Jerod Evans make some big plays happen this week.
However, the Hurricanes will keep this game close and be within striking distance throughout the game in what will be the first four quarter game the Hokies will have played at Lane Stadium all season. At the end, the Hokies will take advantage of the electric atmosphere as they have proved to be able to already do and use that extra little bit of energy on a short week to take down the Hurricanes and stay in control of their own destiny in the Coastal.