Virginia Tech Hokies (8-3, 5-2) at Virginia Cavaliers (3-8, 2-5)
Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
Date: Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009
Place: Carl Smith Center, Home of David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium (61,500), Charlottesville, Va.
TV: ABC/ESPN Reverse Mirror
Virginia: The Wahoos lost at Clemson last week, 21-34, but showed signs of live in their fifth consecutive loss ... Virginia matched the Tigers in the first half and trailed 24-21 at halftime, however it was shutout in the second half ... the Virginia defense is very good ... it's allowing 5.0 ypp in conference play, 4th in the ACC ... against ACC teams, the Hoos are allowing 3.9 ypc (8th) and 6.5 ypa (3rd) ... on offense, the Wahoos have struggled, averaging 3.7 ypp, last in the ACC ... they're averaging 2.4 ypc (11th) and 5.0 ypa (11th) against ACC teams ... this could be Al Groh's last game as UVa's coach ... Groh owns a 1-7 record against the Hokies and you know his players will want to send him out a winner ... the Wahoos are a dangerous team.
Trends: The Hokies have won three consecutive games ... Virginia Tech is 3-4 on the road in ACC play the last two seasons ... UVa is 3-10 in November the last four seasons ... Virginia Tech is 14-1 in November the last four seasons ... UVa is 23-12 in home ACC games under Groh, but 0-3 at home against ACC teams this season ... the Wahoos have lost five consecutive ACC home games ... the Hokies have won five consecutive games against UVa and nine of the last 10 contests.
History Lesson: The Hokies are 48-37-5 all-time against UVa, 13-9 against the Wahoos under Frank Beamer and 18-17-3 against them in Charlottesville ...
What to Expect:
- Expect the entire Virginia playbook. They showed a few new wrinkles last week with RB Mikell Simpson taking snaps out the single wing and leading a touchdown drive. However, Simpson injured his hamstring on the last play of the first half and his status for Saturday is unknown.
- Simpson, Jameel Sewell and Vic Hall all took snaps at quarterback against Clemson.
- Expect a defensive struggle. The Virginia offense is anemic, but its defense is very underrated. DE Nate Collins is an outstanding player and has 9.5 tackles for loss this year, including five sacks.
- Expect the Hokies to need a big game from Ryan Williams. The Wahoos have a good secondary anchored by CB Ras-I Dowling and the passing yards won't come nearly as easy for Tyrod Taylor as they did against Maryland and NC State. The good news is Tech tends to have success against teams that run a 3-4 defense.
- Expect a motivated Wahoo team. This is their bowl game and they'll want to get one last win for Groh. And the besweatered one will throw the kitchen sink at the Hokies to try and get that win.
Hokies Win If: They're able to figure out the new wrinkles in the Wahoo offense and a good game from Williams and the other running backs.
Cavaliers Win If: They're able to keep the Hokies defensive line from disrupting their run game and getting pressure on their QBs and force turnovers on defense.
Dot-dot-dots: Virginia Tech WR Danny Coale was a big UVa fan growing up in Lexington, Va. ... Ryan Williams set the VT and ACC freshman rushing record by running for 120 yards against NC State ... Williams had four rushing touchdowns against NC State after scoring three in his previous six games ... after forcing three fumbles against NC State, Cody Grimm now leads the ACC in the category with six ... he is in a three-way tie for the national lead.