Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
Gameday has arrived as Virginia Tech faces their toughest opponent of the season to date on the road, the 16th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Hokies may be massive underdogs, but they enter this game with momentum having won three-straight games while Notre Dame is looking to bounce back after suffering a 45-14 loss last Saturday night at Michigan.
For the Hokies, today's game will tell us a lot about how good this team really is and whether they may now be the favorites to win the ACC Coastal. With that said, here's our picks on whether the Hokies can pull off the upset or Notre Dame can get a bounce-back victory, along with all of our pregame coverage.
- Keys to the Game (By Mike McDaniel)
- Key Matchups (By Grant Atkinson)
- Opposing 5 Q&A with Tim O'Malley of Irish Illustrated (By Tim Thomas)
- Inside the Lunch Pail Mailbag (By Tim Thomas)
- Virginia Tech Looks for Better Play Off of Bye Weeks (By Grant Atkinson)
After winning at Notre Dame in 2016, Virginia Tech returns to South Bend looking to stay undefeated at one of college football's most famous stadiums. However, that's where the similarities stop as this time, the Fighting Irish are the heavy favorites with the Hokies looking to pull off the upset even if both teams have the same records, and the Hokies have more they can still achieve.
Expect the weather conditions to make this a lower-scoring game where running the football will be important. Given that fact, the Hokies' hopes of pulling off the upset may be better than most think given the issues that Notre Dame has had defending the run including last week against a Michigan that hadn't ran the ball well all season either.
While the spread may not suggest it, this game should be competitive throughout its entirety with the improved Virginia Tech offense ready to show what they're made of. However, Notre Dame is the more talented team and while there still may be a hangover of sorts from last week's humiliation in Ann Arbor, the Fighting Irish will have enough to hold off the Hokies.
Pick: #16 Notre Dame 24, Virginia Tech 17
The Hokies are riding high into South Bend after a 6OT victory their last time out, while Notre Dame is coming off a 45-14 drubbing from Michigan. Still, the Fighting Irish are hefty 17-point favorites.
I do think that Virginia Tech will be able to hang around in this game. I’m not expecting a blowout like some are predicting.
Still, Notre Dame’s talent is going to be too much for the Hokies to overcome. Virginia Tech will cover the spread but lose the game.
Pick: #16 Notre Dame 27, Virginia Tech 17
The Virginia Tech Hokies are hitting their stride just in time before their toughest challenge yet against the No. 16 Notre Dame. The Hokies are coming off a bye week after turning their season around with two ACC wins putting them back in the ACC Coastal title race. This week, Virginia Tech will have to play near perfect football to upend a potentially angry Notre Dame squad, having just been embarrassed against rival Michigan last weekend.
For Virginia Tech, it’s all about how the offense gets involved early. In recent ACC victories over Miami and North Carolina, the Hokies have had first half leads that they've been able to lean on some.
The defense will need to step up for the Hokies this weekend again unlike some of their second half performances that made things interesting against both Miami and North Carolina.
For Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish are in a season-defying game for the remainder of the 2019 season. After suffering losses at Georgia and Michigan, the Fighting Irish’s chances of making the College Football Playoff are slim to none and the chances of a New Year’s Six bowl game are likely 0 with a loss on Saturday.
Notre Dame will not be holding anything back against the Hokies and may come into this matchup frustrated and hungry to set their season back on track. The offense is critical for the Fighting Irish against this Hokies' defense eager to show that they are starting to live up to the standards in Blacksburg.
When the 2019 season schedule was announced for the Hokies, everyone checked in on this matchup as the big one. And luckily for Virginia Tech, their team is heading into South Bend with the most confidence that it has had all season. Hendon Hooker should be able to go for the Hokies, but the question remains on where Virginia Tech will win this matchup. For now Virginia Tech is a major underdog in the national spotlight, and the Hokies should play like they have nothing to lose in this matchup. I believe this one will be a tough one for the Hokies as they will have their struggles on Saturday, and be defeated by the Fighting Irish by a large margin.