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Chick-Fil-A Bowl

Tennessee vs Va Tech

12/31/09

Sportsbook.com Betting Line - Va Tech -5.5 O/U 49

Lane Kiffin burst onto the college football scene, and has continued to ruffle feathers as Head Coach at Tennessee. Kiffin and his team have had to go through plenty this season from armed robbery to hostess gate, but even with all those distractions the Volunteers have had a solid year in 2009. Tennessee finished the year 7-5 with wins over Georgia, South Carolina, and Kentucky and their only real bad loss came early in the season to UCLA. Kiffin has come in and recruited very well and has assembled an all star coaching staff, so the future looks bright for Rocky Top and a win over a very good Virginia Tech team would just help solidify that, but that will be a tall order.

The Hokies finished the year 9-3 with a loss to Alabama who is the #1 team in the country and the favorites to win the BCS Title and a loss to ACC Champs Georgia Tech, so those losses are understandable. Their other loss was against an up and coming North Carolina team, so this has been a successful year for Virginia Tech, and if they are able to take care of business against the Vols they will finish their season with 10 wins for the 6th straight year.


PRIMETIME MATCHUP


Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor and RB Ryan Williams have made for a very formidable 1-2 punch in the rushing attack for the Hokies this season. Their 206 rushing yards per game puts them ranked 15th in the country for rush offense, and Taylor has used that running game to his advantage in the passing game. Because Virginia Tech is such a threat rushing the ball it has opened things up for Taylor to make plays with his arm, and he is having one of his best seasons so far. Taylor has thrown for over 2100 yards and 13 TDs and has added 4 more TD with his legs. Taylor can become a defensive coordinator’s worst nightmare when they get the running game going early, so Tennessee is going to have to commit to stopping the run early in this game or the Hokies offense will have success moving the ball.

Tennessee’s defense is in their first year under legendary Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin, and he has the Volunteer’s defense playing some good football, but the one weakness for this defense has been rush defense. Tennessee is ranked 7th in the SEC in rush defense allowing 143 yards a game on the ground. Those numbers need to improve or the Vols could be in trouble, so LB Rico McCoy and DB Eric Berry are going to need to have big games to make sure they are able to slow down this Hokie rushing attack.


THE FINAL VERDICT


This will be a very interesting matchup to see how a top end ACC team handles a middle of the road SEC team. SEC is known for their defense, and if Tennessee is going to get the victory in this one it is going to be their defense that wins it for them. Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor and RB Ryan Williams have been great all season. Williams has rushed for over 1500 yards on the ground and has 19 TDs on the year. He leads the ACC in rushing yards per game with 128 yards per game.

Unless Tennessee is able to slow him and Taylor down on the ground they will have problems keeping the Hokies out of the endzone. Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin will throw all he has at the Hokies to try and stop that rushing attack, but in the end we just see this Virginia Tech team being too much for the Volunteers to handle. 2* Key Release Va Tech -5.5


 

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