In a game that should put its winner in the top 25 for the first time this season, Virginia Tech hope to open their conference play with a win against a team that’s among the undefeated crowd at the moment, the slightly surprising Georgia Tech.
On a normal season, the Hokies would be the favorites in this Coastal division rivalry, which has seen one of the two teams go on to represent the division in the ACC Chamionship game every year since 2005. VT has won this matchup 7 times since the two have first played, including three in a row. However, their lack of offensive confidence after needing three overtimes to beat Marshall doesn’t bode well for the visiting team.
Georgia Tech have started out the season with a 3-0 record, including two ACC wins over Duke and North Carolina, mostly doing well behind a running game that’s averaged 345 yards per game (4th in the nation). Quarterback Vad Lee might be mostly about running (180 yards so far this season), but he’s not too bad when he needs to throw the ball as well.
The big problem for Virginia Tech is its offense. Quarterback Logan Thomas is No. 95 in the country in QBR according to ESPN, and the senior is completing only 48.1% of his passes this season, throwing six interceptions to four touchdown passes. However, the Hokies mostly rely on their defense and special teams to carry them through games, so Thomas mostly needs to avoid mistakes, not try and win the game on his own.
Virginia Tech is ranked 36th in the nation when it comes to stopping third downs from being converted, which might be the key battle in this game, with the Yellow Jackets ranked second in the nation in converting them on offense with a 66.7% success ratio.
Special teams will be what decides this game for Virginia Tech, because we aren’t going to see too many points. They’ve missed three field goals in each game over the last two weeks, beating East Carolina and Marshall. Getting some consistency there, along with the usual big plays the rest of the unit gets to make (blocked punt & kick in the previous game), might be the difference maker against a better team.
Prediction – Frank Beamer knows how to beat Paul Johnson, and with his best running back coming back from injury, Virginia Tech will do just about enough on offense to help their defense out, as they open thier conference schedule with a win.