College Football Pick
Everyone is beating up on each other in the ACC Coastal division and these two teams are the most recent victims. Virginia Tech fell to Syracuse and Miami lost to UNC over the weekend. Both teams were cruising along until faltering in winnable Games, although Miami’s losses were slightly more forgivable.
The Hokies looked like the frontrunner, but a loss against the Orange can’t really be explained after dismantling the Tar Heels the previous week.
The Hokies are finding success because they’ve been able to run the ball when needed, but the offense goes through quarterback Jerod Evans. In the UNC Game, when passing wasn’t working due to the hurricane aftereffects, the Hokies ran for 189 yards on 66 carries. That was something they hadn’t done all season, but due to the field conditions, they had to. Travon McMillian has been fine at running back, but only has 288 yards on the year.
It’s been Evans who has turned this offense around, totaling 17 touchdowns to two interceptions. Those numbers were better than either Virginia Tech quarterback a year ago.
And that’s where the advantage comes for the Hokies after they lost this Game 30-20 last year with their two quarterbacks ultimately losing the Game due to three combined interceptions. It was an evenly played Game and Miami only outgained VT by about 30 yards, but the interceptions cost them. But with Evans leading the way, that should turn things around for the Hokies in this meeting.
Obviously, the Hurricanes have different plans as they’re still hoping to make it to the Conference title Game themselves. Brad Kaaya is completing a better percentage of his passes this year, but it wouldn’t be surprising if that number went down as ACC play continued on. He hasn’t looked much better from a year ago, although he did throw for 296 yards and a couple touchdowns against the Hokies in that last meeting.
The difference for the ‘Canes early on has been an effective running Game. A year after averaging just 3.7 yards per carry as a team, they were up to 6.2 ypc ahead of the UNC Game with Mark Walton and Joseph Yearby both at more than six yards per carry.
If they can move the ball on the ground, similar to how Tennessee and Syracuse were able to against Va. Tech, then a win is definitely in the cards. But with an arguably weaker offensive line and playing on the road, it won’t be an easy task for the ‘Canes. At some point Kaaya will be asked to lead this team down the field for a touchdown in the Fourth quarter.
These two teams were two of the more surprising ones in the first half of the college season, but with recent losses, that’s no longer the case. Either way, at home, the Hokies get the small edge.
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