Miami Hurricanes (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date/Time: Thursday, October 20th, 7:00PM (EST)
Where: Lane Stadium Blacksburg, V.A.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIA +5/VT -5
Over/Under Total: TBA
This Thursday night the ACC will return to center stage for a pairing between the Miami Hurricanes and the Virginia Tech Hokies on ESPN. The Hurricanes are looking for a much needed rebound after suffering losses in their last two games. Meanwhile Virginia Tech is also looking for a bounce back performance after suffering a rather embarrassing loss to Syracuse last week 31-17 inside the Carrier Dome. Therefore something has to give this Thursday as these two ACC Coastal Division foes collide inside Lane Stadium in Blacksburg for a nationally televised affair.
Just two weeks ago, Miami was on the verge of a breakout season. The Hurricanes were 4-0 and just scored a touchdown to tie rival no. 23 Florida State with less than two minutes to go. Instead, the Seminoles blocked the extra point to end the Hurricanes comeback efforts. Then last week it appeared there were some hangover effects towards that loss to Florida State. Miami just could not get anything going offensively and missed some opportunities to get back into the winning column. This Thursday the Hurricanes offense will have to find some answers against Bud Fosters Virginia Tech defense that currently ranks 7th in the FBS.
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The Hokies have given up just 291 yards per game on average this year. The defense has been solid all year but they have been even better at home giving up just 30 points combined in 3 games including a 49-0 shutout over Boston College. The home environment and the play of the defense is the big reason that the Hokies are laying 5 points in this game. For Miami to overcome those obstacles, they will need a better effort from quarterback Brad Kaaya and the entire Hurricanes offense. Last week, Kaaya had his worst game of the season completing just 16 of 31 passing without any touchdowns in the 20-13 loss to North Carolina. Running back Mark Walton was not able to get much going on the ground either. Walton ended the day with 82 yards but was held to just 3.4 yards per carry on 24 touches.
If Miami is going to snap their two game losing skid, they will have to be more effective this Thursday. Virginia Techs defense is solid against the pass and the run ranking in the top 20 in both categories. Therefore, it is going to be very important that Miami can have a balanced attack to keep Virginia Techs defense guessing. The Hokies are known for bringing a lot of blitz packages so Kaaya will have opportunities for plays down the field. Those opportunities must be taken advantage of early to help set the tone for the offense. Miami must avoid getting behind early and letting this Virginia Tech defense tee off.
On the opposite side of the ball, I will be also watching to see if Virginia Techs offense can make some plays to find some rhythm. The Hokies offense has been pretty solid for the most part this year but they have just had too many mistakes at crucial times. Last week turnovers plagued the offense in the 31-17 loss to Syracuse despite nearly 500 yards of total offense. Quarterback Jerod Evans is a big play quarterback that can do it all from throwing to running. He has thrown for 17 touchdowns this year with just 2 picks and is 2nd on the team in rushing with 319 yards. WR Isaiah Ford has proved to be a lethal target on the outside with 32 catches for 459 yards and 5 scores. The key to this offense is just staying in rhythm and avoiding mistakes. If they can do this on Thursday, they should be just fine.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: A lot of people are expecting Miami to bounce back this week but this is a bad matchup for the Hurricanes. Virginia Tech has a great defense and this Thursday night atmosphere is the motivation the Hokies need to strive. Take Virginia Tech -5
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