Eagles vs Virginia Tech Hokies
This is the ACC Championship Game which will be played in Raymond
James Stadium, Tampa, FL. The 9-3 Boston College Eagles, winners of
the Atlantic Division, will take on the 8-4 Virginia Tech Hokies,
winners of the Coastal Division for the second year in a row. Last
year, the Eagles out-yarded the Hokies by over 150 yds, but Virginia
Tech pulled their usual defensive and special teams magic in
returning a blocked PAT for 2 pts, and later returning a Matt Ryan
INT for a TD in a 30-16 win.
The score was tied 16-16 at the half, and remained tied until midway
through the 4th Q when Hokie QB Sean Glennon hit WR Eddie Royal on a
24 yd TD toss to put Virginia Tech up 23-16. The Eagles had one last
shot, but a Matt Ryan pass was picked off and returned for the TD
with just 11 seconds to play to make the final score look worse than
it really was.
Boston College has come on as of late in winning their last 4 games
in a row, with 2 of them being on the road. They have not given up
more than 21 pts in any of those 4 games, have only given up a total
198 yds rushing and have forced 12 TOís. Last week they held
Maryland to Ė6 yds rushing in a game featuring Eagle backup QB
Dominique Davis for the 2nd game in a row. Freshman Davis has
replaced starting QB Chris Crane, who went down with a broken
collarbone early in the Wake Forest game 2 weeks ago. Davis came in
and got the win in that game, running a conservative offense in a
game that was dominated by defense on both sides. Last week against
Maryland, he went a modest 12 of 24 for just 134 yds, but hit on 2
TD passes with 0 INTís. The Eagles kept the ball on the ground
racking up 175 yds rushing, and again, relied heavily on their
stellar defense. On the year, Davis has hit 31 of 59 passes for 288
yds, 3 TDs and has yet to throw an INT. He should be an adequate
replacement in the passing game, but the Eagles will likely miss
Craneís mobility, as he had accounted for 225 rushing yds and 7 TDís
on his own. But they shouldnít miss his 13 INTís, which accounted
for half of the teamís TOís this year.
The Eagle defense has been solid, as they have given up an average
of just 17.6 ppg, and just 87 ypg rushing for a miniscule 2.9 ypc
average. They have given up some passing yardage, but mainly because
foes are having to abandon the run in an effort to move the ball. As
a result, the Eagle D has amassed 25 INTís and 32 sacks for the
year, with just 9 passing TDís allowed in 11 games, giving them the
#1 ranking in the ACC in passing efficiency defense to go along with
their #1 ranking in rushing defense.
Virginia Tech thrives on the rushing game though, which may not play
into their hands well this week. They are averaging a solid 169 ypg
rushing, but are next to last in passing offense with an average of
just 131 ypg, and just 6 passing TDís for the year. With 18 of their
24 TDís coming on the ground this year, they may have a little
trouble putting points on the board if Boston College is able to
slow down the running attack, which they very well may do. In their
meeting with the Eagles earlier this year, the Hokies were able to
roll up 150 yds on the ground, but were kept out of the end zone on
offense, settling for just 3 FGís. 110 of those rushing yds were by
QB Tyrod Taylor, who was held to just 12 of 27 passing for 90 yds
and 1 INT in the 28-23 loss. Top rusher Darren Evans was held to 27
yds on 17 carries for an average of just 1.6 ypc.
If not for the Virginia Tech defense, the score might have been
28-0, as they came up big with 5 turnovers, including 2 INTís that
were returned for TDís. The Hokies rank just 8th in passing
efficiency defense, with 14 INTís to 10 TDís allowed. But they are
1st in passing defense, allowing just 162 ypg on average, and they
are 2nd behind Boston College in rushing defense, giving up an
average of 112 ypg.
Virginia Tech is just not going to beat you through the air. QBís
Taylor and Glennon have combined for just 1555 yds, and just 5
passing TDís to 10 INTís. As an offense, the Hokies have scored just
24 TDís and average just slightly better than 21 ppg. And itís tough
to run on Boston College who have already kept the Hokies out of the
end zone once already this year. Where they can beat you is with
excellent defense and special teams play. If you allow them to
return blocked kicks and INTís for TDís you are in big trouble.
However, even with turning the ball over 5 times, including 2 for
TDís, the Eagles still beat Virginia Tech by 5 pts in that first
match-up. I just canít see them turning the ball over like that in a
rematch. With equal defenses, and if they take care of the ball, the
Eagles have the much better offense in this game and should win
again. They will likely play a little more conservatively this time
with the freshman Davis at QB, and not put the ball in the air 32
times like they did last time. Iíll look for them to pass enough to
set up the run, put an emphasis on taking care of the ball, play
tough defense again and come away with a win in what should be a low
scoring game against an offensively challenged Virginia Tech team.
Boston College in a pick-em, -0.
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