After picking up a much-needed road win at Georgia Tech last Saturday, Virginia Tech heads back on the road to the ACC's New England enclave to take on a Boston College team that has been sputtering of late and is looking for a big home win in their Red Bandanna game.
Even though the Hokies' win last week just broke a three-game losing streak, Tech is the team with the momentum against a Boston College team hungry to break their four-game losing streak and figure out their QB issues. Combine that with this being their Red Bandanna game and there should be a lot of emotion on the Eagles' sideline.
There are two reasons why Tech should have a great chance to win.
First is the rushing offense that has given the Hokies an identity led by Malachi Thomas who has been sensational as Tech's lead back the past two weeks breaking the 100+ rushing yard mark both times. Combine that with Raheem Blackshear being a great change-of-pace compliment with Braxton Burmeister's rushing ability and BC's rush defense allowing 4.7 yards per carry, and this sounds like a recipe for success for the Hokies.
Defensively, Tech faces a Boston College offense that has a struggling passing attack with Dennis Grosel having 7 interceptions and Emmett Morehead being an unknown with neither being a mobile threat at all. Tech should be able to focus in on containing Pat Garwo and though their rush defense hasn't been as good, Justin Hamilton should be able to load the box more and lean on his cornerbacks especially with Jermaine Waller healthy to lead arguably the best position group on this team.
However, I've updated my pick upon the news that Boston College star QB Phil Jurkovec will be back tonight and start for the Eagles against the Hokies. That's a game changer that should give them a strong enough pass game even if he's not at 100% to pair well with Pat Garwo on the ground and maximize Zay Flowers when they can get him against Tech's safeties and away from the cornerbacks.
In the end, I think Tech will have a solid night running the ball but their struggles to turn red zone trips into TDs and not field goals will pop up while Jurkovec and the emotion of the Red Bandanna game are the boosts that the Eagles need to beat the Hokies.
Pick: Boston College 24, Virginia Tech 23
You couldn’t think of a better time this season for the Hokies to catch the Eagles on their schedule.
The Eagles dominated non-conference play with a 4-0 record to open the season, but their success has not translated into ACC play starting off 0-4 against ACC competition to fall to 4-4 on the season..
There seems to be a quarterback carousel occurring up in Chestnut Hill between senior Dennis Grosel and freshman Emmett Morehead, who are attempting to fill the void at the signal caller position after Phil Jurkovec suffered a wrist injury in Week 2.
Meanwhile for the Hokies, they were able to bounce back last week in Atlanta after suffering a three-game losing streak at Lane Stadium.
What was a whole week talking about the change in the program, credit to the team for putting that talk behind them and improving back to .500.
After some questioning performances on the offensive side of the ball, two big players have stepped up for the Hokies in the last two weeks: freshman running back Malachi Thomas and wide receiver Tré Turner.
Whether it was Thomas’ three touchdown performance against the Orange or Turner’s career day against the Yellow Jackets, the offense is back in stride and it will be the difference maker for how the Hokies close out the season.
For a Hokies’ defense that has had its roller coaster of performances during the first eight games of the season, they will definitely have the upper-hand coming into their battle against the Eagles’ offense.
After dropping 41 points against Missouri in their final non-conference contest before ACC play, the Eagles have only produced 40 points in their last four games combined.
It’s hard to believe that the Hokies should be the more comfortable team coming into Friday night’s matchup, but they look to be in good shape as they seek their first road victory against Boston College since 2017.
With a victory over the Eagles, the path to bowl eligibility becomes much more clear for the Hokies and a chance to salvage a season that looked lost two weeks ago.