When Virginia Tech takes the field in the Orange Bowl against Stanford, they'll have the unenviable task of trying to stop one of college football's best quarterbacks. Stanford's Andrew Luck is currently No. 2 overall prospect on SB Nation NFL Draft Blog Mocking the Draft's big board. Depending on who has the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Luck could be taken first overall.
That would make Luck the third QB taken No. 1 overall to face the Hokies in the Beamer Bowl Era (1993-present), the seventh to be taken in the Top 10 and the ninth to be taken in the first round. Unfortunately for the Hokies, their record against such quarterbacks isn't very good.
The two quarterbacks to be taken No. 1 overall after facing the Hokies during the Beamer Bowl Era, both picked up wins against the Hokies in bowls. Matt Stafford led Georgia to a win in the 2006 Peach Bowl and Peyton Manning led Tennessee to a blowout win in the 1994 Gator Bowl.
The four others taken in the Top 10 in the NFL Draft (Matt Ryan, Matt Leinart, Byron Leftwich and Donovan McNabb) were a combined 4-5 against the Hokies. Tech had one win against Ryan in the 2007 ACC Championship game, a regular season win against Leftwich and were 2-2 against McNabb.
Add in the two other quarterbacks taken in the first round, Aaron Rodgers and Jason Campbell, and Tech has a 4-9 record against quarterbacks taken in the first round of the draft since 1993.
The performances that stand out include Rodgers' decimation of Tech's secondary in the 2003 Copper Bowl and Leftwich lighting up the scoreboard in a losing effort. There were also two last-second defeats against Ryan in 2007 and McNabb in 1998. Others, like Stafford and Manning, didn't put up gaudy stats, but managed the game well.
In those 13 games started by quarterbacks taken in the first round, Tech has allowed opposing QBs to complete 58.9 percent of their passes at 7.7 yards per attempt. The Hokies have allowed 231.5 yards per game and 19 touchdowns with eight interceptions.
One thing the Hokies have going for them going into their matchup with Luck is a good secondary. Most of the secondaries that had to face elite quarterbacks in the past don't compare to the one Tech has this year. The 105.7 opponents' passer rating against Tech is the 8th-lowest in the country this year. The Hokies' 22 interceptions is third in the nation behind Tulsa and Hawaii.
However, Luck will have nearly a month to prepare for the Hokies. Tech has faced first-round quarterbacks four times during the Beamer Bowl Era and is 0-4 in those games. The quarterbacks they've faced completed 64.8 percent of their passes for 9.9 yards per attempt, five touchdowns and two interceptions.
Whether or not the Hokies' secondary can get the upper hand in its battle against Luck -- and reverse Tech's trend against elite quarterbacks -- will go a long way to deciding the Orange Bowl.