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Week 11 - Virginia Tech at Miami

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 6, 2013


Week 11 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Virginia Tech at Miami

Virginia Tech (6-3) at Miami (7-1) Nov. 9, 7:00, ESPN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Yeah, this game has lost a lot of its appeal, but not among those following the Coastal Division race.

Virginia Tech has dropped its last two games, and Miami fell for the first time last Saturday in Tallahassee, but Florida State is going to need a dance partner in Charlotte on Dec. 7. And this week’s matchup at Sun Life Stadium will go a long way to determining that opponent. The Hurricanes are hoping for a rematch with the ‘Noles after running out of gas and successful drives in the second half at Doak Campbell Stadium. It’s been a great year so far for No. 11 Miami, but that feel-good vibe will dissipate in a hurry if the team drops a second straight game.

The bar has been dramatically lowered for the Hokies, courtesy of consecutive losses to underdogs, Duke and Boston College. Still, Tech is in a position to win its next three, cop the division and take a swing at ruining Florida State’s season a month from now. Regardless of the opponent, the Hokies have been in dogfights all year long, with each of its last seven games decided by no more than 10 points.

Why Virginia Tech Might Win: The one constant in Blacksburg this year has been the play of a defense that ranks in the top 10 nationally in run defense, pass defense, scoring, sacks and total D. The Hokies are giving up less than 17 points per game, and they won’t have to contend with Miami’s best player, injured RB Duke Johnson. Virginia Tech is sound at every level, pressuring the pocket with James Gayle and J.R. Collins, and neutralizing receivers with Kyle Fuller and Antone Exum. This D will be an enormous challenge for ‘Cane QB Stephen Morris, who’s been a major disappointment in 2013.

Why Miami Might Win: Virginia Tech couldn’t score enough to beat Duke or Boston College. The mess that is the Hokies offense won’t improve against an underrated Hurricane defense. Tech is 101st nationally in total offense, while averaging 19 points against FBS opponents. Oh, the Hokies have also turned the ball over eight times in the last two games. Miami actually played Florida State relatively well last Saturday, holding the Seminoles to their lowest yards per play of the season. Led by LB Denzel Perryman and DE Anthony Chickillo, the ‘Canes will have few problems forcing Tech punts and mistakes.

Who To Watch Out For: There’s no easy way to replace a player of Johnson’s caliber, but Dallas Crawford sure is going to try. The sophomore has shown flashes this season, scoring 10 times and enjoying a breakout game against North Carolina after Johnson had his bell rung on Oct. 17.

- Morris or Thomas—who’s been the bigger disappointment so far in 2013? There’ll be a swath of NFL scouts on hand this weekend to provide their own assessment, because both players are likely to get drafted at some point next April.

- The cat-quick Virginia Tech D-line vs. the massive Miami O-line is one of the best in-game matchups of Week 11 … of the entire schedule.

- Get to know the kickers in this one, because neither team is going to have much red-zone success. Miami’s Matt Goudis is 6-of-10 on field goals, but just 1-of-4 outside 40. Virginia Tech’s Cody Journell is 10-of-16, and has reached the uprights from as far out as 56 yards.

What Will Happen: With Miami and Virginia Tech in the same building, three things are certain: The game will be close, the defenses will dominate and the offenses will be sloppy. The Hokies showed just enough creases in run defense last week on the Heights for the ‘Canes to exploit. Miami will use its size advantage in the trenches to create the space Crawford needs to extend drives at key stages of the second half.

Prediction: Miami 24 … Virginia Tech 17
Line: Miami -6.5 o/u: 44
Must See Rating: (5 The Wolf of Wall Street – 1 Ass Backwards) … 3.5
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