The Virginia Tech Hokies enter Saturday’s clash with Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium with a lot of momentum coming off back-to-back Thursday night games that have established the Hokies as the Coastal favorites as they continue to be in control of their own destiny in getting to the ACC Championship.
The Hokies will be heavily favored in every game remaining on their schedule, but also will have a target on their back beginning this week as Duke looks to play the role of spoiler. The question is can the Hokies take care of business in Durham or will Duke flip things upside down in the Coastal? Here are our picks.
Well Hokie fans, it’s finally back to a normal football Saturday. Don’t get me wrong folks, I love Thursday nights in Blacksburg, but the rest of the weekend seems to lack something. This week, the Hokies are back playing on Saturday and back to playing a team they should beat. This is once again a trap game fans.
Duke is a struggling football team, losing important players to injury, and losing their team identity after an unlikely win over a Notre Dame team. The Hokies come in rolling and with intentions of crashing the ACC championship, and possibly another big game. Make no mistake, Duke would love nothing better than to derail this Hokie freight train.
Last week, it was the offense who carried the defense. This week, I look for it to be a more of a balance of who carries the team. The Hokies will look to tighten up and create a huge headache for the Blue Devils. As I said before, the Blue Devils have lost a major part of their offense in running back Jela Duncan, who is just the latest in the list of Devils on the injury report.
Make no mistake the Hokies will look to dominate the trenches and stop any running game the Blue Devils might try to piece together. Look for the Hokies to get Duke into obvious passing situations and turn the dogs loose. Woody Baron and Ken Ekanem should have a field day and control the tempo of the Duke offense.
The extra days rest have been what the doctor ordered for Hokie signal caller Jerod Evans. Evans ankle tweak had many fans (including myself) hyperventilating. The extra days off have helped the Hokies signal caller come into this game with little to no sign of injury. The offense should have no problem putting up great numbers, and continuing to have eye popping plays.
Wallace Wade Stadium has been known as Lane Stadium south. This Saturday will be no different as the Hokie Nation will be there in force. The Hokies will ride this home field advantage away from home to another conference victory. Final score 35-13 LETS GO HOKIES !!!!
Prediction: #19 Virginia Tech 35, Duke 13
The Hokies come into this game off two huge wins against teams that were picked to win the Coastal. Both of those wins showed two different sides of this team. Against Miami, they showed their defensive strength and their ability outplay a good team. Against Pittsburgh, they showed that when faced with adversity, this team makes adjustments and finds a way to win.
With a clear path to the ACC Championship game, I expect Fuente and his staff to make sure the Hokies don’t forget the last time this team was riding high after a victory. That Syracuse game is the one blemish on this season so far in my opinion. I fully anticipate this to be a defacto home game for the visiting Virginia Tech team. That factor, combined with the extra time off the team has had since last Thursday, should allow for a big victory against a Duke team that is in a down year.
I would love to see the coaching staff run up the score if given the opportunity, just so they can get the playoffs committee attention. Who knows? With a little chaos and some luck, this team could be staring a playoff appearance in the face after December 3rd.
Prediction: #19 Virginia Tech 41, Duke 13
The Hokies are in control of their own destiny in the Coastal after going 3-1 in October with their only loss coming against Syracuse of the ACC Atlantic. The Hokies are the third-highest ranked ACC team in the first College Football Playoff rankings but face a Duke team intent on playing the role of spoiler today to try to get their biggest win yet this season.
The Hokies got caught in a trap game and slipped up earlier this season at Syracuse, but the Hokies have seemed to learn their lessons. Today, the extent as to which the Hokies have learned their lesson will likely have an impact on this game.
Virginia Tech struggled on the ground last week, but this week should be a bounce-back week against a Duke defense that is 70th in rushing yards allowed per game and giving up 4.3 yards per carry. If the Hokies can do this, it should open up some space against a solid Duke secondary for Jerod Evans to make some big plays happen.
Meanwhile, Duke has a red shirt freshman QB in Daniel Jones who has thrown 9 interceptions this season and will be facing his toughest challenge in Bud Foster’s pass defense that has gotten its fair share of interceptions and will have a couple more today.
Virginia Tech will show up with plenty of energy and feed off the large contingent of Hokie fans that may make this feel like a neutral site game at least if not a VT home game. The Hokies will be ready and will comfortably take care of business against a struggling Duke team.