Virginia Tech (3-5) vs. Boston College (3-5) 12:30 pm
Virginia Tech is 3-2 overall since 2010 against Boston College. However, the Eagles have won the last two games by an average of 7.5 points per game.
The Hokies pushed the Duke Blue Devils to the limit in Blacksburg last week losing in four overtimes to the Blue Devils 45-43. Virginia Tech is averaging 31.1 points per game and has a very balanced offensive attack. Senior quarterback Michael Brewer has returned from a shoulder injury suffered week one against Ohio State and gives the Hokies the best chance to win games the rest of the season. Brewer completed 24 of 45 passes for 270 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions in the loss last week to Duke. On the year, Brewer has completed 58.5% of his passes for 491 yards with 6 touchdowns and one interception. He has shown leadership this season in limited duty and looked comfortable in the pocket while playing against Duke. The Hokies are averaging 171 rushing yards per game and passing for 213 yards through the air. The running game will be the key if the Hokies are to get the victory on Saturday afternoon. If Virginia Tech can run the football against the Eagles solid defensive front seven, this can loosen up Boston College and allow Brewer to attack off of play action. Running back Travon McMillian leads the team with 560 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. McMillian has great vision and is quick to attack the edge of opposing defenses. Virginia Tech can create mismatch problems for Boston College on Saturday because of the Hokies deep wide receiving corps. Led by Isiah Ford , who has a team high 41 receptions for 564 yards with 7 touchdowns, the team has big play weapons that can put pressure on a slow Boston College secondary. Teammate Cam Phillips (28 receptions) is a great compliment to Ford and forces defenses to double team one of them at all times. This opens up the seam routes for tight ends Bucky Hodges(21 receptions 5 TD’s) and Ryan Malleck (15 receptions 2 TD’s). Both players are big (6’5 and 6’6) and can run clean routes which will give Brewer multiple options in the passing game.
Virginia Tech has struggled with consistency defensively this year as the team is yielding 26.1 points per game. The Hokies are allowing 177 rushing yards per game and 183 passing yards per game to their opponents. The unit has struggled to generate a pass rush and has 15 sacks through the first eight games compared to last season’s total of 47 in 13 games. Virginia Tech is +2 in turnover margin and will look to create turnovers on the road against a one dimensional offense in Boston College. Defensive back Chuck Clark leads the team with 67 total tackles which signifies that runners are making the second level of the defense in the running game. However, with the inexperience at the quarterback position for Boston College, look for Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster to be very aggressive and force the Eagles to throw over the top of the secondary. Foster loves to mix up coverage against young quarterbacks along with forcing them to pick up blitz packages.
The Eagles are coming off of a 17-14 road loss to Louisville, a game in which Boston College blocked a punt and returned it for one of their scores. On the year, Boston College is averaging 19.4 points per game and is rushing for 178 yards on the ground. Quarterback Jeff Smith was injured last week and will probably not play. That means Troy Flutie (freshman Doug Flutie’s nephew) will most likely get the start. Flutie is completing 50% of his passes for 382 yards with 3 touchdowns and one interception. The Eagles have struggled stretching defenses vertically and will need a better effort that the 104 yards per game the team is averaging this season through the air. Running back Tyler Rouse leads the team with 246 yards on the ground with 5 touchdowns. Sophmore Wide receiver Thadd Smith leads the team with 10 receptions for 198 yards and one touchdown. In order to get the home victory this weekend, the Eagles will need to make plays in the passing game. Boston College must be able to mix up play calling on first and second down to break tendencies and with the inexperience at quarterback, the offensive playbook seems to be limited. The team has relied on a ball control attack and by utilizing time consuming drives to win games this year.
The strength of the team has been the defense. Overall, the unit is giving up 11.8 points per game and is excellent in shutting down the run allowing 62 yards per game. Boston College loves to blitz and has 26 sacks through 8 games. Last week, the team recorded 7 sacks in the loss to Louisville and will look to pressure Michael Brewer on Saturday. The Eagles have very active linebackers in Matt Milano and Steven Daniels, who have combined for 10.5 sacks on the year. Both players are very physical players that can run sideline to sideline to make plays. Boston College will look to put Virginia Tech into third down and long situations which will allow the Eagles to dial up blitz packages on Saturday. Boston College is +4 in turnover margin and will look to force Virginia Tech into offensive mistakes this weekend.
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Joseph Lisi a former ABC Sports college football researcher, is the owner of www.GOFORTHE2.COM. He is a member if the FWAA (Football Writers Association Of America),Maxwell Football Club and is currently the content editor atwww.2FiveSports.com.He contributes regularly to www.Sid-Rosenberg.com and has been a featured guest every Tuesday night from 10:30-11:30pm EST on Yahoo Sports Radio With Ken Thomson(www.sportsxradio.com).
Joe has been featured on the FNTSY Sports Network and The Sid Rosenberg Sports Radio Show 640AM Sports (South Florida). You can follow him on Twitter: @Goforthe2.
Joe has a weekly radio show on www.blogtalkradio.com with former Georgia Bulldogs WR Corey Allen called: