After a very formidable win against North Carolina to open up their season, Virginia Tech has stayed pretty consistent throughout their season. In other words, the best word to describe them would be average. Overall, like Boston College, the Hokies stand at 4-4 on the season but, unlike BC, we have seen quite the upside with this team. They have dropped some close matches against some very respectful opponents. They took Notre Dame, West Virginia and Syracuse down to the wire but unfortunately finished on the wrong side of the scoreboard each of those times. Nonetheless, they were able to capture their second ACC win of the season last week against Georgia Tech and should feel like they are on cruise control heading into Alumni Stadium Friday night.
In looking at this defense this season, they have not exactly been an impenetrable force but have held their own pretty well. Over the course of the season, the Hokies have conceded on average 22.4 PPG which is not terrible considering some of the opponents they have fared against. Yet, the real outlier here is that they gave up 41 points to a Syracuse team whose offense only put up 14 points against BC (not counting the special teams score). In that case it certainly is a tip of the cap to BC’s defense, but still that Syracuse offense did not exactly look like a high octane offense.
When honing on VT’s defensive rankings, there are not too many things that stick out where, despite how broken BC’s offense is, should really pose all that too much of a threat. Their pass rush is middle of the pack in all of FBS where they rank 53rd with 19 sacks on the season and averaging 2.38 sacks per game. Their passing defense is pretty solid where they allow 200 YPG through the air. Not sure if attacking through the air will be the game-plan for Hafley and his crew but this all the more proves that we will have to try to beat them on the ground. The Hokies currently struggle the most at stopping the run as they rank 96th in FBS allowing 178.9 RuYPG and 4.83 yards per carry.
Once again, I will say that this is a game where if our offense can get clicking we can attack this defense and capitalize. We had similar outcomes with Syracuse where we would strike their defense into the red zone but then falter and either be forced to settle for field goals or turn the ball over on downs. This is a beatable defense, especially with Alumni rocking at home. However, it is really going to come down to who is under center, what the prep work has been in this short week and if Patrick Garwo can have a breakout game. Garwo has not had a touchdown since Clemson and has not cracked 100 yards rushing since Mizzou. I think his time is due to run all over this defense.