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Virginia Tech

vs.

Pitt

College Football Pick

10/27/16

Virginia Tech got off track in its last road game at Syracuse, but after Thursday's big win over Miami, the Hokies are once again thinking ACC Coastal title. Of course to get there, they'll need to take down this Pittsburgh team that has the same overall record at 5-2.

The Panthers haven't played a bad game yet, but they also haven't looked amazing. That can be said because of a mostly favorable schedule in the first half of the year with their hardest games resulting in road losses to OK State and UNC. There's not much unknown about them. Pittsburgh can score just fine, but they also have allowed a lot, giving up 30-plus in three of their wins.

Things have been a bit different for Virginia Tech. The Hokies have blown out the likes of Boston College, UNC and Miami, but also lost control of the game against Tennessee and didn't show up to play a hungry Syracuse team. Having bounced back with a big win over the Hurricanes, will they come out with the same motivation?

When these teams met last year, it was actually low scoring with Pitt leaving Blacksburg with a 17-13 win. There's no doubt, that probably won't happen again. This Va. Tech team is a bit different under new head coach Justin Fuente.

The main difference for the Hokies this year is Jerod Evans at quarterback, who already has 22 total touchdowns to just two interceptions. And his mobility at QB has also opened up the running game at times for Travon McMillian, who is coming off a 131-yard game against the 'Canes. And so far, Pitt hasn't really stopped anyone defensively. In three conference games, the Panthers gave up 37 to UNC, 34 to Georgia Tech and 31 to Virginia. Expect Evans and McMillian to have decent days along with Isaiah Ford and company on the receiving end.

The other side may be the bigger question. The Hokies have been up-and-down defensively this season, stopping UNC to three points one game (rainy game) and then allowing 31 to Syracuse the next. But just last week, they contained Miami to 16 points, getting to quarterback Brad Kaaya with regularity.

The Panthers will remain run-first with James Conner in the backfield, that's no surprise. That said, Conner hasn't topped 90 yards in the last four games, although this offense has made it a norm that they hand it off to four or five different guys each game.

But against Virginia Tech, it's expected quarterback Nathan Peterman will have to do something. He hasn't attempted more than 23 passes in the last four games, so they obviously don't want him doing too much, but that's what it may come to.

Virginia Tech will aim to stop Conner and the run game, but if that doesn't work, it could be a repeat of the game at Syracuse when the Orange ran for 156 yards as a team. Either way, Pitt's defense hasn't stopped anyone this year, so expect yet another higher scoring game for the Panthers that comes down to the final couple possessions in the fourth quarter.

Predicted Score - Virginia Tech 40 Pittsburgh 27

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