Russell Athletic Bowl Preview

Share on your favorite social network:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit

TechSideline.com is pleased to welcome the Legends of Blacksburg as our game preview sponsor.

Live among the Legends ... click here to find out more

 


After waiting out most of the month of December, Virginia Tech will finally play another football game. The Hokies will take on Rutgers this Friday in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.

I know, it doesn’t seem like Virginia Tech has a football game this week. The month of December has been spent not discussing the Scarlet Knights, but talking about the offense (as usual) and debating possible coaching staff changes. I’m typing this preview while watching the sleet bounce of my bedroom window, and suddenly I wish I had made the trip south for some better weather.

It’s been a disappointing season for the Hokie faithful, the coaching staff, and the players. Tech only went 6-6 during the regular season, and struggled to beat a couple of bad teams to end the year to even become bowl eligible. But, here we are yet again, with Frank Beamer preparing for his 20th consecutive bowl games. Not very many coaches can lay that claim.

Rutgers is 9-3, and they were just a play away from beating Louisville and representing the Big East in the BCS. As we’ll see shortly, they are remarkably similar to Virginia Tech in many ways.

The Rutgers Offense

As much as we complained about the Virginia Tech offense this year, statistically speaking the Rutgers offense was much worse.

  • Rushing: #100
  • Passing: #83
  • Total: #100
  • Scoring: #94
  • Pass efficiency: #64
  • Sacks allowed: #4

The Scarlet Knights could pass block this year, but that’s about it. Their passing game was inconsistent, and though they had a 1,000 yard rusher, overall their running game struggled to pick up good yardage.

When I look at this Rutgers offense, I see three things:

1: Inconsistent quarterback play.
2: A good running back.
3: Big, but somewhat underperforming receivers.

Gary Nova (6-2, 225, So.) is in his first season as the full-time starting quarterback after starting five games in 2011. By the time his career is over, he’ll be a very experienced player. However, from day one he has struggled with interceptions. He threw nine in 2011, and tossed up 15 more in 2012. He did throw 22 touchdown passes this year while completing 58.6% of his passes, but many of Rutgers’ inconsistencies on offense stemmed from Nova’s inconsistencies as a quarterback.

Nova shouldn’t have any trouble spotting his receivers downfield, as they are very easy to see because of their size. Without bothering to look at the depth chart of every single team in the country, I think it’s fair to say that the Scarlet Knights have one of the biggest trio of starting wide receivers in the country.

  • Mark Harrison (6-3, 230, Sr.): 42 catches, 560 yards, 13.3 ypc, 6 TDs
  • Brandon Coleman (6-6, 220, So.): 39 catches, 663 yards, 10 TDs
  • Tim Wright (6-4, 220, Sr.): 38 catches, 438 yards, 11.5 ypc, 2 TDs

Virginia Tech’s defensive backs will have to be ready to play physically and compete for jump balls in the red zone. Antone Exum (6-1, 224, r-Jr.) is the ideal cornerback to combat a group of wide receivers such as this.

Though you have to respect this group’s impressive size, we should also keep in mind that this offense was very inconsistent in the passing game (as well as the running game) this year. Only part of that is because of Gary Nova.

Bud Foster’s #1 focus in this game will be to stop the Scarlet Knight ground attack. Jawon Jamison (5-8, 200, So.) and Savon Huggins (6-0, 200, So.) split the carries at tailback, with Jamison getting a little over twice as many carries. Here’s a look at their numbers this season:

  • Jamison: 242 carries, 1054 yards, 4.4 ypc, 4 TD
  • Huggins: 101 carries, 362 yards, 3.6 ypc, 2 TD

Though Jamison did have a 1,000 yard season, these two backs combined for just six rushing touchdowns on 343 carries. They aren’t big play backs, and the Rutgers offense was more inclined to use their big wide receivers in the red zone.

In fact, Rutgers is one of the worst red zone offenses in the country, ranking #110 nationally. In 31 trips to the red zone this year, the Scarlet Knights only came up with 22 scores. Only 16 of those were touchdowns, which is barely over 50%. You have to be able to run the ball in the red zone, because the shortened field means defensive backs have to cover less space in the passing game. Both the Hokies and the Scarlet Knights have struggled running inside the 20 this season, so this game could come down to who is able to punch it in the endzone once they reach the red zone.

Attempting to block the playmaking Tech defensive line is an offensive line that features just one senior.

  • LT Kaleb Johnson (6-4, 300, So.)
  • LG Antwan Lowery (6-4, 305, Jr.)
  • C Betim Bujari (6-4, 290, So.)
  • RG Andre Civil (6-3, 275, Jr.)
  • RT R.J. Dill (6-7, 310, Sr.)

It’s not the biggest offensive line you’ll see, particularly at right guard. Andre Civil is a former defensive tackle who played left tackle in 2011, and was then moved to right guard this year. He’s been all over the place during his career, and he still has the body of a defensive tackle, rather than an offensive guard. Despite all the moves, he was still First Team All-Big East in 2012.

This is a unit that has struggled to get a push in the running game, but they are 19th nationally in tackles for loss allowed, and 4th in the country in sacks allowed. That should be a good matchup with a Tech defense which ranks #14 in tackles for loss and #20 in sacks.

This is clearly a good matchup for Bud Foster’s defense. The Hokies are playing a team that hasn’t been effective running the ball, as well as a quarterback that has a tendency to throw the ball to the other team. The game strategy is simple:

1: Stop the run.
2: Take a lead and force Rutgers to throw the ball.
3: Wait for Gary Nova to throw it to the defense.

I have confidence that Virginia Tech can execute #1 and #3. It’s #2 that leaves me worried …

The Rutgers Defense

Like Virginia Tech, Rutgers relies on a statistically strong defense to shut down the opposing offense. That’s how they compensate for an offense that struggles. That’s been the Virginia Tech formula in most seasons since 2006.

  • Rushing: #11
  • Passing: #40
  • Total: #14
  • Scoring: #4
  • Pass efficiency: #25
  • Tackles for loss: #19
  • Sacks: #73

Rutgers is #7 nationally in red zone defense, allowing just 24 scores in their opponents’ 36 trips inside the 20. Only 15 of those 36 trips have resulted in touchdowns. The Scarlet Knights have won some close games this year (7 point win over Cincinnati, 8 point win over Syracuse, 9 point win over Arkansas and 10 point win over USF), and it’s been their red zone defense that has been the primary factor.

The best player on the Rutgers defense – and probably the best player on the field for either team – is linebacker Khaseem Greene. He was Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012. The only other player to accomplish that twice-in-a-row feat? Virginia Tech’s Corey Moore in 1998 and 1999.

Greene (6-1, 230, Sr.) plays weakside linebacker for Rutgers, and he is a big time playmaker. Check out these numbers: 125 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 6 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 7 passes defended, and 8 quarterback hurries. This guy gets it done in all phases of the game.

Greene has the luxury of playing behind a defensive line that, while being very small, makes a lot of plays in their own right. In particular, the staring defensive tackles make a ton of plays:

  • DT Scott Vallone (6-3, 275, Sr.): 50 tackles, 12 TFL, 2.5 sacks
  • DT Jamil Merrell (6-4, 255, Jr.): 37 tackles, 8 TFL, 3.5 sacks

That’s not a very good matchup for a Tech offensive line that has struggled to block this season. However, those guys are small, as are backup defensive tackles Darius Hamilton (6-4, 260, Fr.) and Kenneth Kirksey (6-1, 275, So.), so if guys like Caleb Farris and Brent Benedict can get squared up, they have the potential to move those tackles off the ball.

Rutgers has other playmakers at linebacker, besides Khaseem Greene. Jamal Merrell (6-4, 220, Jr.) is the twin brother if defensive tackle Jamil Merrell, and he racked up 80 tackles and 8 tackles for loss this year. Steve Beauharnais (6-2, 230, Sr.) had another 76 tackles, with 6 tackles for loss and a sack. On the whole, this is a front seven that can run from sideline to sideline and make a lot of plays against the running game.

The Scarlet Knights also have a solid secondary, and surprise surprise, some are noted for their ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. Lorenzo Waters (6-0, 200, So.) had 6 tackles for loss and 2 sacks in 2012 as the starting strong safety, while Logan Ryan (6-0, 190, Jr.) had a further 5 tackles for loss. Ryan also led the team with four interceptions, and he also broke up 14 other passes.

Ryan was a First Team All-Big East selection this season, as was free safety Duron Harmon (6-1, 200, Sr.). Overall, Rutgers had four defensive players make First Team All-Big East, including linebacker Khaseem Greene and defensive tackle Scott Valone. This is a talented and well-coached defense.

Unfortunately, this matchup does not favor the Hokies. Rutgers makes a lot of tackles behind the line of scrimmage, which means Virginia Tech will likely be operating from behind the chains for much of this game. That’s not a good thing for any offense.

Special Teams

Beamerball as we once knew it has moved from Blacksburg, VA to Piscataway, NJ. Rutgers has more blocked kicks (38) over the past five seasons than any other team in America, and they also led the nation in blocks this season with eight. A once proud Virginia Tech special teams unit doesn’t block kicks anymore, so this is a mismatch in the favor of Rutgers.

However, the Scarlet Knights have also allowed three of their field goals to be blocked this season. Rutgers has used both Kyle Federico (6-0, 195, Fr.) and Nick Borgese (5-11, 175, r-Fr.) this season. Federico is 6-of-11 with a long of 52 yards. Borgese is 4-of-5 with a long of 42 yards. Federico has a very strong leg, though he’s not consistent. He is listed as the starter heading into this game.

Rutgers is only 116th in the country in net punting. Justin Doerner (6-2, 200, Sr.) averages 37.4 yards per punt. The Scarlet Knights are 34th nationally in punt return yardage defense, but Doerner just isn’t getting much distance on his punts. Rutgers also ranks an impressive 8th nationally in kickoff return defense.

The Scarlet Knights rank #104 in the country in punt returns, and #35 in kickoff returns. Mason Robinson (5-10, 195, Sr.) only averages 3.2 yards on 22 punt returns, so the Tech punt coverage team should have a field day.

Final Thoughts

In the grand scheme of things, this game doesn’t mean much. The decisions Frank Beamer makes, or has already made, with regards to his offensive coaching staff will be the most important thing to happen to Virginia Tech football this offseason. A win over Rutgers would be nice, but it has no bearing on the future of the program, and it won’t change how Tech fans view the 2012 season.

That being said, I think 7-6 sounds a heckuva lot better than 6-7, so I want to win this game. This isn’t the Rutgers program that Virginia Tech left behind in the Big East back in 2003. This is a winning program that goes to a bowl game almost every year. They have solid players, a good record, they are well-coached, and they have confidence. Rutgers expects to beat Virginia Tech on Friday. When is the last time a Rutgers team expected to beat Virginia Tech?

I believe Bud Foster and the Tech defense have a good matchup in this game. I think the Tech defense will have success stopping a Rutgers offense that has been inconsistent all season. The Hokies will play well, on the defensive side of the ball.

What worries me is how the offense will fare against a very good Rutgers defense, and whether or not special teams will make mistakes that will give the Scarlet Knights good field position. If you play offense for Virginia Tech, you probably aren’t too confident right now. If fans have heard rumors of impending coaching changes, then you know the players have heard them, too. How do you expect an offense to perform against a good defense in a bowl game when they lack confidence, and the future of their coaches is uncertain?

On the whole, I think this is a pretty even matchup, but the intangibles and the current questions surrounding the Tech program point to a Rutgers victory on Friday.

Chris’ Prediction: Rutgers 23, Virginia Tech 17

Will Stewart’s Take: I saw Pollack and Palmer say it just the other day on ESPN: “Bowl games are so hard to predict.”

There are so many variables at play. The things that favor the Hokies are: Rutgers’ inconsistent offense vs. a pretty good Hokies defense, and … that’s about it. If the Hokie defense comes to play, it can cover for a multitude of sins the rest of the team and the coaching staff might commit.

It’s also possible that Rutgers is let down after coming so close to making a BCS bowl. I watched their loss to Louisville on the last Thursday night game of the season, and Rutgers had it *right there* in the palm of their hand, but couldn’t finish off the Cardinals, even though Teddy Bridgewater was playing on one leg.

There are many things working against the Hokies, however, including some hard-to-ignore intangibles. The Russell Athletic Bowl is a step down from typical Hokie bowl fare. The Rutgers program is more likely to be fired up to knock off Virginia Tech than vice-versa.

But biggest of all, the Rutgers coaching staff is stable and secure in their jobs at the moment, versus a Virginia Tech staff that is facing a heavily-rumored shakeup of offensive coaches at season’s end. If the things we’ve been hearing are true, multiple VT offensive coaches have been job-shopping this month, looking for a soft landing ahead of some housecleaning.

That’s likely to produce a very unfocused, unprepared effort, at least offensively. Defensively, it’s hard to say what will happen.

I’ve never seen less discussion of a VT bowl game among Hokie fans in my life. I don’t think I know anyone who is going. And though ticket sales through the university are no longer a good indication of how many fans will be going (thanks to the robust second-hand market led by StubHub), I’ve also never seen a bowl ticket sales figure of (gulp) 3,000 bandied about. Heck, that’s how many fans the Hokies take to Boston College. Never mind a bowl game.

I’ve got a feeling that Rutgers is going to come in focused, prepared, and fired up, despite their disappointment at not winning the Big East. I can’t say I feel the same about the Hokies, who have struggled with leadership and focus all season long. With coaching changes looming, there might be lots of coasting going on.

I’d like to say that I feel good about this one, but I don’t. For VT to win, the defense is likely going to have to set the tone and lead the way. I’ll also give a nod to Logan Thomas, who hasn’t played well a lot of this year, but he has generally played hard and will pick a team up on his back (see the Virginia game).

It’s more likely, though, that around 9:00 Friday night, we’ll be watching Rutgers put the finishing touches on a win over the Hokies, and thinking to ourselves, “Yep … saw that coming a mile away.”

Will’s Prediction: Rutgers 20, Virginia Tech 13

 

 

Share on your favorite social network:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit

42 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. First of all, I’m at the game Will, so you know one person here! I appreciate the realistic, honest evaluation of the teams. I can be optimistic on a win, and still listen to a balanced preview of the game.

    For me, going to bowl games has become a ‘tradition’ for my group of season ticket holders. I have been to all of the last 19, and my friends have made most, though not all. It’s about more than the game for me….friends, travel and the Hokie Nation as a whole. While Orlando wouldn’t be my first choice for a destination (it’s expensive and crowded and generally a tourist trap) i am currently enjoying a mojito by the pool and making the best of my trip while supporting my school and my football team!

    Go Hokies!

  2. One interesting stat that was not commented on in commentary – Rutgers ranks #73 in sacks.

    So they are pretty good for TFL but not so good in getting to the QB. Sounds like a team that runs sideline to sideline get a little penetration and make plays around the line of scrimmage but at the same time cannot mount a big pass rush.

    If you have a big QB that is hard to take down, seems like you would want to take advantage of this match-up. If our QB can throw a little more consistently and our WR catch the ball when thrown to them we should have a chance. I know these are big “ifs” but I am an optimist.

    We will probably have trouble getting to the edge with the running game. like power running right at the smallish front has will be the most effective running strategy. We have had trouble running right at people but we certainly have the beef to do the job.

  3. I have to agree that it’s almost impossible to believe that all the talk about a staff shakeup isn’t a distraction. Plus, VT provides a much more impressive scalp for Rutgers to collect than the other way around. I plan on watching, but after 12 games and four months I’ve long since abandoned the idea that this Hokie team has something- some other level or gear – it hasn’t shown yet. Rutgers is arguably the third best team Tech has played this year, after Clemson and FSU. I’m not optimistic.

  4. I’ll be surprised if the Offense comes out playing with any real intensity. After the regular season was complete, it was obvious the O is soft and lacks any type of ‘eye of the tiger” and never took their play to the next level. They bought into the myth about “we gave good effort and played really hard, but it was just poor execution”! Most of the time the O line got schooled and never could manage much of run blocking for the entire season! However, rest assured Bud’s crew will come out with eye of the Tiger and likely keep the game close. I see it coming down to turnovers and special teams as deciding factor IMHO. Stiney, Newsome, and O’Cain won’t have their crews fired up as they will have the usual react and struggle to adjust as the game unfolds. They simply need to go! Forgive me for my sarcasm, but I watched too many painful games this year! We simply need some new O coaches who will light a fire under our O players and bring a new O game plan and get us back to playing O with some swagger ! Go Hokies and get the W for at least maintaining winning season streak!

  5. I’m actually surprised that there are still some with positive expectations after watching this team play all year. Very impressive.
    Unfortunately, I watched this team (mainly the offense) all year…including the games where they had the most at stake(Boston College and UVA). And if that’s the best we’ve got when we’re “playing for pride” or when “the season is on the line” then you’ll forgive me if my expectations aren’t sky high for the prestigious Russel Athletic Bowl against national power Rutgers. (please note the sarcasm)
    But I do hope those eternally optimistic fans are right. Maybe they’ve been saving up all the good plays and effort just for this game…The Russel Athletic Bowl…maybe this is the moment they’ve been waiting for all year and can’t wait to put on a show in front of 3,000 strong. Maybe this will be the game where my hopes come true and the team puts together a complete game…or at this point I’d settle for slightly above average (Keep in mind, I’ve been hoping for that since September!).
    I love my Hokies and want them to crush every team they play…but you’ll forgive me if my orange and maroon colored glasses are cracked after this season.
    Rutgers 17 Hokies 14

    1. Been a tough year for sure, and of course anything can happen, especially in a bowl game. I am certainly hoping (and almost half expecting) Tech to come out and lay a whipping on a team that we would normally use to have our second string get some playing time. That is the Hokie in me. But if anyone remembers our last two games, predicting a Hokie win is tough indeed. The BC and UVA games were literally painful to watch. How we can execute so poorly is simply amazing. But looking on the brightside (which I dont normally do) I’ll go ahead and honestly predict a Hokie win– 34-17. Heck, we are way overdue for a good game, right? GO HOKIES!!!!

  6. I don’t know how anyone believes that Tech will put up a ton of points on Rutgers. I mean with this years team I just don’t see it happening. I hope it does, but I’m not betting on it.

    Plus I honestly don’t see how anyone really sees Will and Chris’ predictions that far off?? I don’t think it’s too crazy at all. I struggling tech team this year…..in a bowl game of all places and we expect a win??? How many bowls have we lost? Even to teams that we should have crushed (Kansas, Michigan)?

    I don’t think Will and Chris or anyone that expects a loss, is being negative this year they are just being realists.

    I hope the Hokies prove me wrong and dominate the game. It would be nice to see for once this year. I’ll still watch and still cheer for the Hokies to win. But if they lose, I’m not going to be surprised one bit.

  7. Tech will roll 31-13 as power running game returns, ironically before offensive coaching changes. Logan will run for two TD’s and pass for two. A return will factor in scoring. Newsome and O’Cain are gone…. Stinespring re-assigned.

    1. power-running??? Logan cant ruun it all night long and there is no one else in the backfield that fits the description of “power-running”

      1. I believe Tech will run out of I-Formation and pro-set with success in this game. These are power formations as opposed to the read option sets used most of this past season.

  8. Wow, I sense some Negativity here. Don’t blame the Tech Sideline staff for not being all that Jacked Up over a rather Ho-Hum Bowl, after a very Ho-Hum year. I have been chastised in the past for my Negativity. To be honest, the 5:30 Starting Time is kinda a nice change of pace, let’s just not make a habit of it. Logan and the guys are still playing for Pride, Recruiting, and the Va. Tech name. I have been rather Ho-Hum when everybody brings it up, but lemme tell you what! We need to win this game for many reasons, I hope We kick their Ass! Then I want to see the proper changes made, and let’s get ready for next Fall. I honestly think that VT Football finally has the Complete Game for the year, very Well-Rested and Plenty-Pissed like Hokie Nation. Final Score, Va. Tech 36 Rutgers 16. As far as the Bama Game next Fall, I would just as soon not think about it till I’m forced to. Go Hokes!

    1. I’m with you on this one!!! I think it is hard to count on it, but it sure would be nice…and I’ll be PULLING for them.

      I think winning this game will help set a more positive note for next season…and that can ONLY help everyone (including, and maybe even mostly) the new coaches!

      BTW…why would anybody accuse a guy whose username is “Raineyday” of being negative :>)

      GO HOKIES DAMNIT!!!!!

  9. I just have to say wow! These predictions sound like Chicken Little.My God, lots of VERY good programs have down years ,which doesnt mean that the program successes are a thing of the past-see UGA as example.

    I have never seen LESS written on this board about any of the previous 20 bowl games.Maybe, you guys need to look in the mirror and drink a little orange and maroon kool-aid! Pitiful analysis in my humble opinon!

    1. Kind of agree. One would think that we have UVA’s record the past few years. I believe that reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated. Our coaches are “unorganized, unprepared, blah, blah, blah”. No doubt that we can be better, but much of our fan base undervalues how good we have been.

      1. I will NEVER undervalue what we have accomplished, and fight for that recognition on here daily! I think what we have accomplished in the past 15+ years is fantastic! I don’t care who it was against, or that we don’t beat top 5 teams like we think we should. I am damned proud of the accomplishments of the past 2 decades; including the much maligned 10 win streak and all the ACC Championships…

        Do I want more?!.. HELL YES, I want more. We need to do what we have to do to get there. We are all in agreement with that, but that wasn’t what you asked about.

        STILL…..it is hard to argue that this has been as “depressing” (perhaps a bit strong a term) a season as we have had in MANY years. Maybe ever, in my way of thinking.

        That said, it is pretty hard to muster much optimism for this bowl game.. I’ll be watching and cheering for all I’m worth, but I would not predict a win either; not this team, not this year, not under these circumstances.

        Still…GO HOKIES!

    2. We evaluated this particular matchup, for what it is right now. A 6-6 VT team, who has won one game against 2-10 (or was it 3-9?) Boston College away from Lane Stadium, is going away from Lane Stadium to play a 9-3 team.

      1. Chris, How Right You are !! And I think you & Will have the Total Score Way Too close, IMO. I see VT getting beat and folding up with a big loss in this Bowl game. All the things are in place for that to happen. Been a Bad Hokie Year and they will finalize it…

  10. For the Hokies to win the WRs and RBs need to play with something to prove. They are the reason for the disappointing season. Time to save face because I believe in them.

  11. What a bunch of fair weather fans. If I were on this year’s team I would play my guts out for my teammates and coaches. Winning would be a wonderful way of saying (bleep) you to all the whiney nay sayers.

    1. Have you seen Frank’s bowl game record Not a Hoo? Have you seen his record vs. the Top 5? Top 10? Top 25? Did you watch the bowl game last year? Most VT fans have grown tired of spending thousands of dollars to travel to bowl games or preseason games ONLY to see us get beaten!! We NEVER and I mean NEVER get the thrill of victory, only the agony of defeat!! It is very rare when a Frank Beamer team beats a team that they are not supposed to, save your money Hokie fans until Frank puts a proven offensive product on the field!!

      1. The top 25 record is pretty good. Beam’s record vs top 5 is commensurate with 90%+ of the rest of the country. Very, very few teams win many games vs top 5. You can google it like I did to see that some excellent programs have bad records vs top 5.

        1. Which is EXACTLY why they are Top 5….they are mostly undefeated with one loss max (Top 10), by simple definition!.

      2. Yep, I sure wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars to travel to a bowl game unless I was GUARANTEED that my team would win. Fans support their team … win or lose. Get a grip.

    2. Have you see the Marcus Davis blocking v. FSU video? Did you see anyone give Davis the ol’ “Ahmad Bradshaw smacks Victor Cruz for not blocking” after anyone of those?

  12. If you guys really think the Ruts will beat the Hokies, you haven’t been paying aattention. Turn up the volume and record the game, the Hokies will roll! I’m not sayin’…I’m just sayin’….Go Hokies!

  13. Yeah, this makes sense. The one constant this year with in game texts between me and my Southwest Fla brother (former New River Valley Hokie Business supporter) has been “we’re really bad” or “Just not very good”. The prideful momentum overcoming past obstacles no longer exists except in the shadows of VT football memories……Rutgers is a better team. Heck, except for London; UVA was a better team….

  14. Unfortunately, I agree with Will and Chris. I’ll be surprised if we show up and play our best. It would not surprise me to see us lose by two touchdowns. Hope I am wrong.

  15. I really do understand the negativity — been trying to stay away as a result. But, honestly, look at who Rutgers has played to rack-up those defensive statistics. The HOKIES D is much better than Rutgers’ and the Tech D should handle RU’s D better than UVA’s (how many yds did the ‘hoos get???). I’d be extremely bothered if the HOKIES drop this game….

      1. To be fair, wasn’t Cincinnati without their QB in the Rutgers game? If so, yes common opponent, but very different without their starting QB who was one of the reasons they beat the hokies. Tough to compare based on that game.

        I like Tech’s D in this game, based on how they’ve played the last 5 or six games. Hokies chances hinge on how the offense, particularly Thomas who is playing for the NFL scouts, does.

    1. It doens’t matter that we hold opponents to under 200 yards cause we’ll still lose. In case you haven’t check it, the latest trend for Beamer is bottlenecking the opponent in statistical categories and still losing the game. Many times we have more yards and more first downs, but somehow we manage to lose.

  16. Based on the review of Rutgers how did they go 9-3? I hope the players want this game bad enough. It seems every time we here they are all up and ready to plat they get whipped! So maybe no news/confidence is good news.

  17. This game will tell me something about the players that will be coming back next year … Do they lay down or stand up and fight? We will see ….
    In regard to the departing coaches they should be looked at closely by the schools that are potential suitors …… Good preparation will show well and I sincerely hope that the loyalty that Frank has shown them over the years will be repaid by their focus during preparation …. We will see late Friday evening ….
    A great showing Friday will only be a positive in recruiting and spring preparation.
    GO HOKIES!!!!
    7-6 sure sounds better than 6-7
    Agree?

    1. Can’t say anything negative about the coaches loyalty (if they indeed know or, have an idea of, what’s going to happen). To a man, not a single one has made any public remarks whatsoever about the future of the coaching staff. That alone is commendable!

    2. Actually, I think it will say very little about the players returning next year. The 2003 bowl game, in which VT gave up 530 yards and 50 points, was played by a lot of the same players who played much better in 2004.

      Each year has its own feel, its own chemistry.

Comments are closed.