One last time to watch Tyrod Taylor on Worsham Field. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
No. 15 Virginia Tech Hokies (9-2, 7-0) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (4-7, 1-6)
- This is our hated rival so these guys better not come out and treat it like it doesn't matter as much just because the Coastal is already decided. I'm not saying they will, but it certainly would be easy to come out relaxed because UVa is 1-6 in ACC play and we already have hotel reservations for Charlotte.
- Of course, we don't have to worry about the Hokies starting off on the wrong foot because it's all they've done so far this year. Fortunately, they've been pretty good in the second half of most of their games.
- The Twitter has been a-twitter with rumors that we're going to get some good recruiting news prior to the game. So if you care about recruiting, watch for that.
- Virginia is No. 118 in the country in penalties, averaging an astronomical 75.9 penalty yards per game. Hopefully the Hoos will do their part to submarine their own upset hopes. Of course, they had over 100 penalty yards when they beat Miami.
- It would make me really happy if I could relax and fire up a victory cigar by halftime. I'm on vacation here, Hokies. This is supposed to be a stress-free weekend.
Virginia Tech Offense vs. Virginia Defense
- Virginia is horrible against the run, so we're going to run, run, run until UVa proves it can stop it.
- If UVa does stop the run, we really should be embarrassed. In ACC play, the Hoos have allowed 233.7 yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry.
- The Hokies' best bet at ground game success should come between the tackles. The Hoos are severely undersized up front with two starting defensive tackles that go 6-3, 275 and 6-2, 250. The smaller of the two, John-Kevin Dolce, is at least serviceable as a pass rusher. You might remember him as the guy who concussed Jacory Harris.
- But Dolce is going to be going against an offensive guard in Greg Nosal who is 43 pounds heavier and four inches taller. Nosal should be tough enough to push Dolce around and open up holes for Ryan Williams and Darren Evans.
- When the Hokies have to pass, they'll be going against a secondary that gives up big plays and has been undermanned throughout the season. The Hoos have allowed 8.6 yards per pass attempt in ACC play, which is 11th in the conference.
- Cornerback Chase Minnifield has had a good year, recording six interceptions. That puts him second in the conference behind Jayron Hosley. However, his partner in crime, Ras-I Dowling, has missed most of the year with injuries. He made his second start of the season against Maryland and fractured his ankle, sidelining him for the rest of the season.
- Tech is thin at receiver due to injury, which puts pressure on Jarrett Boykin. Boykin was shut down by Miami's secondary and his battles with Minnifield on Saturday will be a match-up to watch.
- Tyrod Taylor's going to play his last game in Lane Stadium this week, so look for him to try and have a big game. That could come in the middle of the field with Andre Smith or Danny Coale matched up against the Wahoos' linebackers and safeties.
Virginia Tech Defense vs. Virginia Offense
- Eventually the Hokies are going to be able to stop the run, right? Well, it could happen Saturday if the Hoos are without running back Keith Payne. I like Payne because he runs hard and at 6-3, 255 is tough to bring down. However, a "lower extremity" injury kept him out of last week's game at BC and Mike London is only "cautiously optimistic he'll play against the Hokies.
- If Payne can't go, most of the Hoos' carries will go to Perry Jones, who's a smaller, quicker running back. He's not nearly as fast as Lamar Miller, who terrorized the Hokies a week ago, but could still give us some trouble running to the outside.
- Where the Hoos would miss Payne most is in the red zone. He has 14 of UVa's 17 rushing touchdowns this season. He's one of the main reasons the Hoos have scored touchdowns on 61.7 percent of their red zone possessions in all games, which leads the ACC.
- Receiving wise, there are certainly less talented receiver combos than UVa's Kris Burd and Dontrelle Inman. Inman's a tall receiver who can go up and get balls and has pretty good body control. Burd's a smaller, quicker receiver.
- Marc Verica will be playing in his last college football Saturday and will responsible for getting the ball to Burd, Inman and tight end Colter Phillips. He's prone to interceptions, so the key is to put the game on Verica's shoulders. He's a very good game manager, but hopefully we can force him to put the ball in the hands of Rashad Carmichael or Hosley if we get him in third-and-long situations.
- The Hoos have a sophomore left tackle and a freshman right tackle, so hopefully Steven Friday and company can put pressure on Verica. The Hoos have allowed 14 sacks in seven conference games.
Watch the Box Score
- Virginia YPC
- Virginia Tech 3rd Down %
- Virginia Penalties
Virginia Tech Players to Watch
- 5 - Tyrod Taylor, Sr., QB
- 88 - Andre Smith, Sr., TE
- 91 - John Graves, Sr., DT
- 21 - Rashad Carmichael, Sr., CB
Virginia Players to Watch
- 33 - Perry Jones, So., RB
- 81 - Dontrelle Inman, Sr., WR
- 59 - John-Kevin Dolce, Sr., DT
- 13 - Chase Minnifield, Jr., CB