After a tough loss on the road at West Virginia, Virginia Tech returns home looking to build some momentum heading into their bye week before the Notre Dame game with what should be an easy matchup against in-state FCS foe Richmond. However, crazy things can happen as we've already seen with 30+ point underdog UNLV giving ranked Fresno State a run for their money this weekend.
So with that said, here is our picks for the Hokies against the Spiders including our score predictions to see if we think Tech will cover the roughly 35-point spread.
Virginia Tech needs a bounce back game and Richmond is a great opportunity to do just that on paper given that they're an FCS team. Of course, Richmond can't be overlooked as the Spiders are the #24 team in the FCS ranks so they have some talent, but this should be a game that Tech routs with anything less than dominance being worrying.
Tech's offense could use a bounce back week on many fronts especially with the offense that we actually see Brad Cornelsen bring about after a tight rushing game playbook lacked the options and misdirection that has maximized the Tech rushing attack in recent seasons. Additionally, Tech's offensive line will look for a bounce back game after a rough day in Morgantown.
Meanwhile, Tech's defense may have had a poor start against WVU, but the defensive unit built some momentum in the second half adjusting well and only allowing three points while Jermaine Waller had a huge interception that gave Tech a great opportunity that they would waste. Expect Justin Hamilton to work in some backups early with the first team defense as we saw against Middle Tennessee when backup LBs Keshon Artis and Dean Ferguson received first half snaps.
While some may be worried about this game given some of the painful upsets of the past, I expect the Hokies to bounce back and comfortably take care of business, and give themselves the opportunities to get plenty of backups valuable live game reps as they did in the final 11 minutes against Middle Tennessee two weeks ago.
Pick: Virginia Tech 41, Richmond 10
The Hokies host the Richmond Spiders after a disappointing showing on the road in West Virginia last week that has led to plenty of uncertainty and doubt about the program, especially after it followed a strong showing against North Carolina and a win against Middle Tennessee. Tech has not been a stranger to huge upset losses, and Richmond may prove to be more of a barometer game than once thought.
It's no secret the Hokies have been inconsistent, especially offensively. On paper, they should have no trouble moving the ball against an FCS defense that allowed 34 points in their last outing. But regardless, the playcalling and execution have been problematic and if they can't execute against the Spiders, the questions will remain heading into the showdown against Notre Dame in two weeks.
Defensively, Justin Hamilton's unit got back to their dominant selves after a shaky first quarter against West Virginia, allowing just 13 points the rest of the way. Against a Richmond team that doesn't have any matchup advantages, they should continue this trend.
I anticipate the offensive issues will look much better this week though that will mainly come from playing an inferior opponent, while the defense easily stymies an FCS offense.