2011: 4-1 (0-1)
Last week's game: Clemson 23 Virginia Tech 3 The Tigers proved themselves to be players on the national stage with a convincing road win in Lane Stadium. The Hokies gained only 258 yards, and had two costly first half turnovers that put them in a bit of a hole, and right now the offense isn't built to be able to play from behind. David Wilson, Virginia Tech's star running back, clocked his requisite 100+ yards, but quarterback Logan Thomas averaged only 4.6 yards an attempt, and it's very difficult to win in that fashion. On the defensive end, Virginia Tech played okay, but looked at times to be confused by Chad Morris' offense.
Last year's meeting: Virginia Tech 31 Miami 17 Last year's game was tied going into the third quarter, but the Hokies added two touchdowns in the fourth to seal it up in a surprisingly easy fashion. Stephen Morris was under center for the Canes, and he did not have a good day, completing less than half of his passes and throwing three interceptions. The Hokies ran the ball for an astounding 251 yards, and that was basically that.
Offense: Plain and simple: Virginia Tech is going to run the ball right at you, and they're going to make you tackle. And that should be of concern to Canes fans, as, even by recent standards, the 2011 defense has had a lot of trouble tackling. The hope against the Hokies is not to stop Wilson, but merely to slow him down. The Hokies need him to gobble up yards at a heavy clip in order for their offense to function. Thomas is an athletic, talented quarterback, but he's extremely raw right now and can't be put in a position where he has to make a lot of plays in succession. Jared Boykin is the Hokies' number one receiver, and his size will present problems today for Miami.
Defense: The Hokies sport a predictably stout defense. Where the 2011 edition stands out is in defending the pass. Football Outsiders' S&P rankings have Tech ranked #2 overall against the pass, but maybe what's most troubling is that the Hokies are ranked as the number one overall defense in the country on passing downs. Translation: Miami needs to keep Jacory Harris out of third and long, or there's a very good chance that the ball will end up in the wrong hands. The individual star for the Hokies is cornerback Jayron Hosley, a Delray Beach native who snagged nine interceptions last season, and already has picked up three in 2011, including one last week against Clemson.
Match up in Miami's favor: Though Logan Thomas has been very shaky this year, it looks as if Miami's defense can make any quarterback look proficient in the passing game. So, let's go with Miami's running game. The Canes offensive line will have a healthy Seantrel Henderson today, and that obviously strengthens the unit as a whole. The Canes absolutely must get Lamar Miller going, and both Canes fans and coaches should be encouraged by the fact that Miller ran for 163 yards against the Hokies last year on just 15 carries.
Match up in Virginia Tech's favor: Well, this one is obvious. The Canes are going to be playing a defensive end at defensive tackle today, and behind the defensive line will be a smallish and relatively inexperienced group of linebackers. To put it most truthfully, it will be an utter miracle if the Canes can contain the Hokies running game today and force them to pass the ball in order to move up the field. It's possible to beat Virginia Tech if David Wilson racks up 150+ yards -- just ask Clemson -- but it's certainly not doctor recommended.