Miami doesn't look like a division winner this season, but they can end the Hokies' hopes of making it to the ACC championship game in Tampa Bay in December. What must the Hokies look out for tonight? Miami's defense. Now, VT is known as being a heck of a defensive team, but Miami's defense isn't bad. The 'Canes secondary can easily stop VT's young receiving corps, and Miami will be able to stop VT pretty easily at the line as well. Don't expect another record-setting night for Darren Evans. Miami is known for rotating players to keep the line fresh, but on the positive side for the Hokies, if the run game can pick up a key block or two and get past the line, they'll see a lot of success and pick up the first down likely every run. Remember, VT is rarely beaten when outrushing its opponent and has only lost one game in November since joining the conference in 2004. Also, Miami's quarterback is struggling, so if the defense can force a few sacks and bad throws, time could be on VT's side. By the way, VT has held Miami to 10 points in both road games against the team since joining the ACC.
What's the best-case scenario for the Hokies tonight? What should be their game plan?
- Tyrod Taylor is healthy and plays. His run-game would help add up yards without the fear of picks or dropped passes.
- Darren Evans is energized and can get help from his teammates in getting past the line of scrimmage to break free for first downs.
- Stinespring continues to use Greg Boone in the "Wild Turkey" formation, and he keeps the ball on the ground (never thought I'd say that) except for plays requiring longer yardage.
- Special teams gets back to Beamer Ball.
- Victor "Macho" Harris comes up with at least one good pick.
But what's the likely scenario for the Hokies?
- Tyrod Taylor will not play, and Glennon and Boone will rotate again. Glennon gets sacked at least once to increase his negative-yardage stat.
- Darren Evans does pick up good yardage on runs, but nothing spectacular enough to not require the receiving corps to start catching passes.
- Stinespring does drink some "Wild Turkey," but he calls Stinescreens and up-the-middle rushing plays on third-and-long, forcing punt situations.
- Punter Bowden continues to contemplate life before getting the ball off.
- Harris, coming off an illness this week, plays a good (but still sluggish) game.
I think Miami's run game is too weak to gain much on the Hokies, and their QB will throw picks against the VT secondary. If the Hokies play conservative, but smart enough to pick up big yardage when its needed instead of wasting downs, they will come away with the win.