Boston College Eagles (4-1, 3-1 ATS0 at No. 5 Virginia Tech Hokies (4-1, 2-3 ATS) Lane Stadium Blacksburg, V.A. Saturday October 10th, 12:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Boston College +13.5/Virginia Tech -13.5
The No. 5 Virginia Tech Hokies have withstood some tough challenges this year, but remain strong early in the season with a 4-1 record. Outside of a tough loss to no. 3 Alabama, the Hokies have been pretty flawless. Virginia Tech pulled out a last second win against No. 19 Nebraska and then dominated a top ten ranked Miami team 31-7.
The Hokies now turn their attention to holding off one of the top teams from the ACC Atlantic division when they host Boston College this Saturday in Blacksburg.
Boston College is fresh off a big College Gameday victory over Florida State and stand at 2-1 in ACC play. Boston College is in most makes very similar to Virginia Tech considering they have a talented defense and have found most of their success on offense through the running game. The Eagles have the opportunity to not only capture an upset against a top 5 opponent this weekend, but keep their place among the tops of the Atlantic division which would keep hopes of playing for an ACC Title alive.
Virginia Tech rolls into the game after a 34-26 victory at Duke last weekend. The Hokies were not very dominate allowing the Blue Devils to rack up 397 yards of total offense which is surprising considering they have one of the most talented defenses in the conference. However, QB Tyrod Taylor had a career performance completing 17 of 22 for 327 yards and 2 scores.
Taylor had been for the most part ineffective with his arm before last Saturday’s breakout performance. The Hokies had based the offense around tailback Ryan Williams who leads the ACC with 575 rushing yards, but Taylor’s big performance may place some confidence back into the passing game. The Hokies will now battle with one of the best defenses in the conference to attempt to remain on top of the ACC.
Boston College has been stellar on the defensive side of the ball holding teams to an ACC 2nd best 15.4 points per game. The Eagles match-up well against the Hokies because of their strong defensive front. Boston College is allowing just 101 total rushing yards per game from their run stop unit. The Hokies rely heavily on their running game and if Boston College can foil that approach then it puts pressure on Taylor to backup last week’s performance.
Of course Boston College has yet to face an opponent as talented as the Hokies meaning the statistical numbers may be a bit misleading. However, they still have a solid defense that will need to play big on the road this weekend. The Eagles main concern must be stopping the run. Taylor is a good quarterback, but has been very inconsistent with his arm. If the Eagles defensive front stops the run, perhaps they can force Taylor to throw some bad passes because turnovers fuel fires for upsets.
The Eagles will have a big test stopping freshman sensation Ryan Williams. The freshman tailback has played extremely well for the Hokies this season averaging 5.3 yards per carry with 575 yards and a ACC best 8 touchdowns among tailbacks. Williams and the running game will likely get plenty of touches at least early in the game to try and wear down the talented Eagles defense. Depending on how much success is attained, will determine how many more carries Williams gets for the remainder of the game. If the Eagles stop the run, Taylor will have to make plays with his arm again.
The Eagles primary strength on offense may be from a young tailback as well. Sophomore Montel Harris has 449 yards and 5 scores on the season. Harris had a breakout performance last week on the big stage against Florida State racking up an impressive 179 yards on 25 carries. However, Harris was held to just 89 yards combined in his first two ACC match-ups against better rush defenses. Freshman QB Dave Shinskie could become a factor into the equation. Despite a slow start, Shinskie has played well in his last two games throwing for 431 yards, 5 touchdowns, and just 1 pick in those two contests. Perhaps the best way to foil the Hokies defense is to keep them on their heels by mixing up the play call meaning both Harris and Shinskie will have to be equally effective if there are to be any hopes of an upset.
Jay’s Pick – I believe the defenses will get the best of the offenses here and that should keep Boston College within the points. Take BC +13.5.