Virginia Tech vs Marshall Picks
Tim ThomasVirginia Tech has some momentum for the first time in weeks after a thrilling victory over Virginia to extend their reign of dominance over the Commonwealth Cup to 15 years. Now, the Hokies' focus is on extending the nation's longest bowl streak to 26 years with Marshall coming to town in search of a big road victory over a power 5 team. The Thundering Herd are not someone that should be underestimated whatsoever with an 8-3 record along with a 3-game winning streak. That winning streak includes a win at Florida International last week that kept FIU from playing for the Conference USA title this Saturday and opened the door for Middle Tennessee State to take advantage and win the CUSA East title. Marshall is built around their rush defense that ranks sixth in the country in rushing yards per game, best among Group of 5 schools, while only allowing 2.9 yards per carry. For a Virginia Tech offense that has relied on its improving running game in recent weeks, they'll need Ryan Willis and the Hokies' passing game to find the momentum they had only a few weeks ago. Willis has had his two lowest completion rates as a starter the past two weeks and has appeared to regress, but the Hokies will need him to step up and regain his accuracy along with needing some more variation on their base passing game from Brad Cornelsen. Fortunately for Willis, he has the playmakers on the outside if he can get the ball in his vicinity including breakout receiver Tre Turner who has emerged as one of the best freshman receivers in America. Defensively, the Hokies' focus will likely be on the passing game as the Thundering Herd are unlikely to have their leading RB Tyler King and haven't found a consistent back to replace him. However, the Herd have some weapons in the passing game including redshirt senior WR Tyre Brady who is likely to break the 1,000 yard mark this season in his second season with the Herd after transferring from Miami. Marshall is built around their defense and will be able to make this game very interesting. However, the Hokies' defense should have a stronger performance against a Marshall offense that doesn't have a lot of options while the weather could also make this a lower-scoring game. Marshall is a quality football team with plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, but the Hokies will build on last week's momentum to get another close home win and extend the nation's longest bowl streak to 26 years.
Pick: Virginia Tech 21, Marshall 17
RJ GarzaAfter what can only be described as a miraculous victory in an overtime thriller against Virginia, he Hokies are back home for a season finale against Marshall. After taking care of one major streak last week, the Hokies' focus is now on keeping their longest-in-America bowl streak alive.
Marshall has won their past three games, but the strength of the teams they've faced has been questionable. Coming into Lane Stadium with a Virginia Tech team that has more to play for doesn't fare well for Marshall.
Virginia Tech has lost to a team that they should've beaten easily earlier this season with Old Dominion. The difference in this game is that the Hokies have a confidence defensively that hasn't been seen since arguably the Duke game. Watch out for Dax Hollifield to be a big time player this weekend. Especially with Hollifield coming off one of the best games of his young career.
Offensively, the Hokies have averaged 251.7 passing yards per game, and 172.7 rushing yards per game. I can see the Hokies putting up much more passing yards than their average. Given the fact that both Tre Turner and Damon Hazelton have been hot as of late, look for them to be the offensive x-factor.
It's difficult to see how Marshall could beat Virginia Tech unless the Hokies just don't show up or choke away a bowl game berth.