No. 14 Virginia Tech Hokies (8-3, 5-5-1 ATS) at Virginia Cavaliers (3-8, 5-4-1 ATS) Scott Stadium Saturday November 28th, 3:30PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Virginia Tech -13/Virginia +13
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The Virginia Cavaliers dropped their 5th straight game in a row last week as they could not keep pace with the Clemson Tigers falling 34-21. However, it was the Cavaliers 2nd straight week of putting up a surprising good fight against a superior opponent. The Cavalier, perhaps with a bit more confidence that they can contend, will try to end the regular season on high standards as they attempt to knock off their inner state rivals when they host the no.14 Virginia Tech Hokies Saturday afternoon.
The Hokies have rattled off 3 straight wins over the past few weeks as they have locked up the number 2 spot in the ACC Coastal behind Georgia Tech. Virginia Tech took down North Carolina State 38-10 last week as sophomore wide receiver Jarrett Boykin had a huge performance catching 6 passes for 164 yards. It was actually Boykin’s 2nd straight game reaching the century mark in receiving yards and he is starting to help the passing offense become electric through the air. The Hokies place most of their reliability on the running game and freshman Ryan Williams, but if the passing game can continue to develop into a big threat then they may be building a future National Championship contender down in Blacksburg for 2010.
On the Cavaliers side of the field, they have struggled on both sides of the ball all season. On paper there is not many encouraging numbers besides a pass defense that ranks 19th holding opponents to just 184 yards per game through the air. However, the Cavaliers have played better on the field than their statistical numbers show in recent weeks as they had chances of different outcomes against both Boston College and Clemson. If the Cavaliers defense can continue to play fairly well and they get some help from the offense this week, there is no reason to think that they can not contend with the Hokies.
The offense has to find a way to score some points and move the chains consistently. Virginia Tech will control the ground in all likely scenarios behind the legs of Williams meaning the Cavaliers offense must capitalize on all the opportunities they get with the football. Senior quarterback Jameel Sewell had a solid outing against Clemson last week completing 11 of 17 passes for 160 yards and a score. On the season, Sewell has been must less accurate completing 53% with 7 touchdowns and 7 picks. However, if Sewell can have a better game and find WR Kris Burd on some plays then the Cavaliers could have some success against the Hokies defense. However, if they are to score enough points to win they will probably need some big plays and turnovers to go their way.
Virginia Tech has a great defense that should help the Cavaliers offensive woes continue. The Hokies have held opponents to just 16 points per game this season and own the nation’s 10th ranked pass defense allowing just 165 yards per game. The defense will certainly play a big factor in helping the Hokies reach their 9th win of the season and allowing them the opportunity to reach 10 on the season with the Bowl Game during the postseason.
However, it will still be the offense mainly the running game that can truly control the game. The Hokies offensive line is big and strong. They will open up holes in the Cavaliers defensive line which will allow Williams to do what he does best and that is make plays. Williams ranks 5th individually in the nation and of course leads all freshmen from around the country with 1,355 yards on the season. Williams carried the ball 32 times last week as the work horse and he is averaging 5.6 yards per carry on the season. If the passing game is not able to make some plays on the arm of Tyrod Taylor, the Hokies will likely turn all their focus to feeding the ball to Williams another 25-30 times again this Saturday. If they do that they win, plain and simple.
Jay’s Pick - Virginia Tech -13.