No. 12 Virginia Tech Hokies (11-2, 9-0) vs. No. 5 Stanford Cardinal (11-1, 8-1)
2011 Orange Bowl
Stanford: The nickname "Cardinal" isn't plural because it refers to the color, not the bird, as in Harvard Crimson ... Stanford closed out its regular season with a 38-0 curbstomping of Oregon State at home ... in that game, the Cardinal forced five turnovers and held the Beavers to 2.8 ypc and 4.7 ypa ... meanwhile, QB Andrew Luck was 21-for-30 (70 percent) for 305 yards (10.2 ypa) with four TDs and no INTs ... Luck finished second in the Heisman voting behind Auburn's Cam Newton and led the Pac 10 in passer rating and yards per attempt and finished tied for first in touchdowns and TD-INT ratio ... the Hokies and Cardinal share a common opponent ... Stanford beat Wake Forest 68-24 at home on Sept. 18 ... Tech beat Wake 52-21 at home on Oct. 16.
Trends: The Hokies have won 11 consecutive games since losing their first two of the season ... last year, Tech beat Tennessee in the Peach Bowl to give it victories in consecutive bowl games for the first time in its history ... the Hokies have won five of their last six postseason games (ACCCG and bowl) ... they are 2-3 all-time in Joe Robbie Stadium, but have won their last two games there ... they are 1-2 all-time at the Orange Bowl ... their last trip to the Orange Bowl also gave them their first BCS win (1-3) ... the Hokies are 3-5 in January under Frank Beamer ... Stanford has won seven consecutive games ... the Cardinal's last bowl win came in the 1996 Sun Bowl against Michigan State ... they have lost their last three bowl games ... this is their second trip to a BCS bowl, with their first coming in the 2000 Rose Bowl, a loss to Wisconsin.
History Lesson: The Hokies and Cardinal have never faced each other ... Tech is 0-2 all-time against Pac 10 teams, including 0-1 in bowl games ... Stanford is 3-6 all-time against ACC teams, including 0-3 in bowl games ... the Hokies' games against Pac 10 opponents came in consecutive games ... they lost to Cal in the 2003 Copper Bowl and opened the 2004 season with a loss to USC in Landover, Md.
What to Expect
- Expect a balanced offense from Stanford. Like the Hokies, Stanford is at its best when it's getting production both through the air and on the ground. The Cardinal actually ran the ball more than they passed this year, although most games they were involved in were blowouts. However, in the first quarter they ran 104 times and passed 101 times (with sacks counting as running plays).
- Expect it to be hard to get to Luck. Stanford's five sacks allowed is currently tied for the fewest allowed in the country with Air Force, and obviously the Cardinal throw the ball a lot more often than the Falcons. However, two of the nine sacks allowed by Boise State this year did come against the Hokies. Tech has recorded at least one sack in 23 consecutive games.
- Expect the Hokies to get most of their offense on the ground. Stanford is middle-of-the-road this year in terms of ypc allowed (4.1) and uses a 3-4 defense, which Tech traditionally fares well against when the other team doesn't have Terrence Cody.
- Expect turnovers to decide this game. Virginia Tech is currently first in the nation in turnover margin at +18 and Stanford is tied for third at +14 ... the Cardinal are +12 in their last five games while the Hokies are +14 in their last four ... Tech has only lost the turnover battle once this season in a loss to James Madison.
Hokies Win If: They run the ball effectively, get pressure on Luck and capitalize in the red zone.
Cardinal Win If: They don't let Tech make them one-dimensional and don't turn the ball over.
Dot-dot-dots: The Hokies' 11-game winning streak is their longest since they won 12 consecutive games at the end of the 1998 season and the beginning of the 1999 season ... Andrew Luck's father, Oliver, is the AD at West Virginia ... Pac 10 teams are 3-0 in the Orange Bowl ... since missing his first attempt of the season, Chris Hazley has connected on a school record 20 consecutive field goal attempts ... cornerback Jayron Hosley, who was named an All-American after the season, will return home for the Orange Bowl ... the Delray Beach native had one interception in his last trip to Joe Robbie Stadium this year against Miami ... as always, many of the stats in this post come from CFBStats.com ... go there and bookmark it.