Virginia Tech, coming off of a 6-7 season and a fired head coach, will host Boston College in Blacksburg for Week 2 of the 2022 football season in what will be the ACC opener for both teams. Virginia Tech’s new head coach is Brent Pry, former defensive coordinator at Penn State, and he has some interesting problems he’s inherited from former VT head coach Justin Fuente.
The new offensive coordinator for the Hokies, Tyler Bowen, is a Penn State buddy of new VT head coach Brent Pry and was last coaching tight ends with the Jacksonville Jaguars. And he certainly has his work cut out for him.
Offense is a major, major issue for Virginia Tech if last year is any indication. In the ACC they ranked 2nd-to-last in points per game, 2nd-to-last in passing yards per game, 3rd-to-last in total yards per game, and dead last in first downs per game. And now their starting QB Braxton Burmeister has transferred out to San Diego State and the Hokies will need to find his replacement.
Two QBs came in from the transfer portal to battle it out for the VT starting job: Marshall’s Grant Wells and South Carolina’s Jason Brown. Wells played well at Marshall, putting up over 3,500 passing yards and 16 passing TDs last season, but his 13 INTs are something to be concerned about and the competition in the ACC is tougher than in CUSA. Jason Brown showed spurts of competence on the field for South Carolina, but it came in limited playing time, it wasn’t anything amazing, and his only noteworthy showings were against bad SEC defenses like Mizzou and Florida. On top of that, the Virginia Tech passing game is losing its top two targets in WRs Tre Turner and Tayvion Robinson.
The stronger part of the offense last year was the rushing attack, but even that is a big question mark this year. The Hokies lost their two leading rushers, RB Raheem Blackshear and QB Braxton Burmeister, and their great OL lost 3 starters to the NFL Draft. Returning members of the OL and returning RB Malachi Thomas should help stop the bleeding, but it remains to be seen if they can match the production of last season.
You should expect the Virginia Tech offense to still be finding its footing in Week 2 against BC.
The Virginia Tech defense, in stark contrast to their offense, is expected to be fairly good this season. Their new head coach Brent Pry was the defensive coordinator for a Penn State team that finished 3rd in scoring defense in the Big 10. And he’s getting a good returning unit to work with in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech had the 5th best scoring defense in the ACC last season, returns almost all of their key playmakers, and is even bringing in a couple transfers to help out. Players like DE TyJuan Garbutt and DBs Nasir Peoples, Chamarri Conner, and Amari Chatman are all returning after having impressive showings last season. There isn’t much else to note here other than the expectation that they will continue to be one of the better defensive units in the ACC, especially against the passing game. But they aren’t world-beaters, as they let up 35+ point showings last season to Maryland (54), Syracuse (41), and Miami (38) and lost those games by an average of 20 points.
I’m taking Boston College in this one. Phil Jurkovec and Boston College’s offense should have a better performance than they did last year against the Hokies (17 points in Chestnut Hill) because that game was Jurk’s first game back from injury, so he wasn’t fully-healed and he was on a team that hadn’t played with him for most of the season. The chemistry is back for BC’s offense and the injury should have faded, so I expect the Eagles to hang about 25-30 points on a respectable VT defense. And I have fairly low expectations for a shaky VT offense against a BC defense that should be better than last year’s.
Final: Boston College 27, Virginia Tech 10