Virginia Tech Hokies (10-1, 6-1) at Virginia Cavaliers (8-3, 5-2)
Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
Date: Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011
Place: Charlottesville, Va.
Stadium: Scott Stadium
(Cap: 61,500, Open: 1931, Field: Bermuda)
TV: ABC/ESPN2 and ESPN3
Radio: VT IMG, XM 204, Sirius 132
Spread: Virginia Tech -6
Weather: Low of 49, 10% Chance of Rain
Virginia: After going 6-18 in ACC play the last three seasons, the Hoos have a chance to match that win total in 2011 alone Saturday against the Hokies. The turnaround has been spurred by an improved defense and a solid running game. After giving up 6.5 yards per play in ACC play last year (the most in the league), UVa is now sixth in the same category this season, giving up 5.6 ypp. On the ground,the Hoos are averaging 4.6 ypc against ACC opponents after averaging 3.7 last year. Michael Rocco is also vastly improved under center. The sophomore QB has thrown 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in his last seven games after throwing one touchdown and seven interceptions in his first four games.
Trends: Virginia Tech has several winning streaks on the line this weekend in Charlottesville. The Hokies have won six consecutive games overall, 12 consecutive true road games, 12 consecutive games in November and 10 consecutive games against Coastal division opponents. Virginia has won four consecutive games and six of its last seven. The Hoos are 4-2 at home this season. This season, the Hokies are 3-8 against the spread and the Hoos are 5-5-1 against the spread.
History Lesson: This will be the 93rd meeting between Virginia Tech and UVa. The Hokies are 50-37-5 all-time, 19-17-3 on the road and 15-9 under Frank Beamer against UVa. They have won seven consecutive games in the series and 11 or the last 12. Last year, the Hokies out-rushed UVa 201-70 on their way to a 37-7 win. In that game, David Wilson ran for 83 yards on 13 carries (6.4) with a touchdown. In two games against the Hoos, Wilson has carried the ball 18 times for 137 yards (7.6) and two touchdowns.
What to Expect
- Expect UVa's best shot. The Wahoos have improved throughout the year and their four-game win streak means the Commonwealth Cup is for more than just bragging rights and recruiting wars. If the Hoos win this game they'll go to their first ACCCG. They'll be motivated, but then again so will the Hokies.
- Expect an evenly matched game. These two teams are close to one another in yards per carry, yards per carry allowed, yards per attempt and yards per attempt allowed in ACC play this year.
- Expect Tech's ability to run the ball to be the deciding factor in this game. UVa had done a good job of stopping the run after giving up 222 yards on 5.4 ypc in a loss to North Carolina until FSU averaged 5.6 ypc on its way to 186 rushing yards last week. The Hoos will also be without defensive end Billy Schautz, who suffered a broken leg after having a solid game against the Noles.
- Expect the Hokies to have trouble getting to the quarterback. The Hoos have allowed six sacks in seven ACC games, the fewest in the conference. After looking like a train wreck prior to the season, UVa's offensive line has improved remarkably. They're good in pass protection and have paved the way to 4.6 yards per carry in ACC play, fourth in the conference.
- Expect a lot of kicking. UVa is among the best in the conference in red zone touchdown percentage against and among the worst in the same category on offense. Both defense are in the top three in third-down percentage.
Hokies Win If: They run the ball, score touchdowns in the red zone and force turnovers.
Cavaliers Win If: They get on the board early, run the ball effectively and stop VT on 3rd down.
Dot-dot-dots: The 82 yards rushing by David Wilson against North Carolina broke his streak of seven consecutive games with at least 100 yards rushing ... Whip linebacker Alonzo Tweedy missed a third consecutive game Thursday against North Carolina and was replaced in the starting lineup by freshman cornerback Detrick Bonner, who made his second career start ... Michael Via came in at center after Andrew Miller was injured during Thursday's game ... the Hokies have committed four turnovers in the last three games after committing one in the previous three ... a Virginia Tech tight end has caught a touchdown in three consecutive games.