Virginia Tech Hokies (8-2, 6-0) at Miami Hurricanes (7-3, 5-2)
Miami: The Hurricanes are coming off a 35-10 road win against Georgia Tech in which they scored the game's final 21 points ... the Canes' three primary running backs in the game (Damien Berry, Lamar Miller and Mike James) combined for 218 yards on 36 carries (6.1 ypc) and three touchdowns ... in his last two games, freshman QB Stephen Morris is 28-for-48 (58.3 pct) for 516 yards (10.8 ypa), two touchdowns and two interceptions in wins over Maryland and GT ... Jacory Harris was originally expected to return at QB for the Canes after sustaining a concussion against UVa, but it appears Morris will start against the Hokies ... in conference games, Miami has allowed 4.6 ypc (9th in the ACC) and 5.6 ypa (1st) ... on offense they average 5.1 ypc (2nd) and 7.0 ypa (T5th) in ACC games.
Trends: The Hokies have won eight consecutive games since starting the season 0-2 ... Miami has won two games in a row and four of its last five ... Miami has won five consecutive home games against Coastal opponents ... since joining the ACC, the Hokies are 23-2 in Novemeber and December regular season games with both losses coming against Miami ... Virginia Tech has won six consecutive true road games ... the Hokies are 22-5 on the road since joining the ACC.
History Lesson: The Hokies are 10-17 against Miami all-time, including 4-10 on the road, 0-1 in Sun Life Stadium and 10-9 under Frank Beamer ... the Hokies have won three of the last four and five of the last seven meetings ... the Hokies won last year's meeting in Blacksburg, 31-7 in a driving rain storm behind a strong defensive performance that held the Hurricanes to 209 yards ... Miami won the last meeting in South Florida in 2008, 16-14, by holding the Hokies to 2.0 ypc and six sacks of Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon.
What to Expect
- Expect Stephen Morris at QB for the Hurricanes. I think Morris' recent performances will allow Miami to take its time with Jacory Harris' injury. Whether or not Harris plays is still a question, but I doubt we see him and fully expect Morris to start.
- Expect the Canes to keep the pressure of Morris by attacking the Hokies on the ground with their large and capable stable of running backs, including the workman-like Berry and the speedy Miller. Eventually Tech is going to have to figure out how to stop the run. This week would be a nice time.
- Expect the Hokies to try and establish their own run game against Miami. The Canes have a very stout front-seven,but they aren't impossible to run against. Florida State and Clemson both did it effectively, but turnovers killed the Tigers. As good as these two secondaries are, it could be a quick game with both teams keeping it on the ground.
- Expect Leonard Hankerson to burn us deep at least once. Hankerson is one of the better receivers in the league, but is inconsistent and prone to drops. But at least once a game he's going to get behind the secondary. The key for the Hokies is not to let he or the other Miami receivers do it consistently.
Hokies Win If: They force turnovers and have a solid game on the ground.
Hurricanes Win If: They get big plays out of their stars and don't make mistakes in the kicking game.
Dot-dot-dots: This is the Hokies' longest winning streak since they started the 2005 season 8-0 before losing against Miami ... Tech's last nine-game winning streak came when it won its final three games of the 2000 season and its first six games of the 2001 season ... the six turnovers forced by the Hokies against North Carolina was their most since they forced six at Georgia Tech in 2007 ... Saturday's game was the first time the Hokies didn't commit a turnover in a road game since the Miami game in 2008 ... since missing his first career field goal attempt, Chris Hazley has connected on his last 17 ... his 17 consecutive field goals made ties the Virginia Tech record shared by Brandon Pace and Chris Kinzer ... the Hokies can clinch the Coastal division with a win.