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2009 Virginia Tech Football: What to Watch vs. Boston College

The Team

  • We are going to learn a lot more about this Virginia Tech team these next two weeks. Whatever the Hokies are will come out against Boston College at Georgia Tech. I'm interested to see how the defense performs against the Eagles and how the offense performs against the Yellow Jackets.
  • The only complete game we've seen this year was against Miami in a torrential downpour. I want to see the Hokies do that in a game in normal conditions. These next two weeks would be a great time for them to do it.
  • I seriously doubt the Hokies are going to win the rest of their games. And if they're going to have a bad week and drop a conference game, I'd rather it come against an Atlantic Division team like Boston College than a team that is going to contend for the Coastal Division like Georgia Tech.

Virginia Tech Offense vs. Boston College Defense

  • Unlike previous years, the strength of the BC defense is its secondary. The defensive line was already missing Ron Brace and BJ Raji from graduation. Now its key defensive end, Alex Albright, is hobbled by an ankle injury. We'll find out if he'll play when the injury reports are released Thursday. Right now Brad Newman is listed as a starter instead of Albright. The linebacking corps is without Mark Herzlich and other key members have been injured this year as well.
  • But the BC secondary has been big for the Eagles. Led by CB DeLeon Gause and Donnie Fletcher, the Eagles are allowing  6.2 YPA this year, but 7.6 YPA in conference games against Clemson, Wake Forest and Florida State.
  • The key for Virginia Tech on offense will be the running game. If BC can force passing downs, Tyrod Taylor will have to throw against a secondary that returned five interceptions for touchdowns last season.
  • If the Hokies do have success through the air, it will be over the middle against BC's linebackers. Look for Greg Boone to have a decent game.
  • I think Taylor and Ryan Williams will be able to find yards outside of the tackle box. When Taylor is forced to throw, I hope he'll tuck and run rather than try to force something against the BC secondary. Last year, he had 110 yards rushing against the Eagles.
  • The Hokies were limited in the first game against BC last season because they weren't able to get yards on the ground. Darren Evans was still coming into his own and was stymied by Raji and Brace. He averaged 1.6 yards per carry in that game. However, I think Williams will be able to find running room to the outside that wasn't there against Duke. And if Josh Oglesby can get yards going North-South to complement Williams, it will be a long day for BC.
Virginia Tech Defense vs. Boston College Offense
  • The Hokies will have success against the Eagles if they are able to get pressure on David Shinskie. Shinskie has been great the last two weeks since taking over at quarterback for Justin Tuggle. Shinskie threw for 431 yards and five touchdowns against Wake and FSU. If the Hokies can't get heat on him, he'll be able to pick the Hokies apart.
  • Tech is still giving up big plays through the air and that's something Shinskie and the Eagles can do if Jason Worilds and Cody Grimm don't get to him. Last season the Hokies gave up big plays through the air that cost them.
  • Kam Chancellor and Dorian Porch need to avoid big plays like they did in the Miami game. Boston College has two solid receivers in Rich Gunnell, who is the active leader in catches in the ACC, and Justin Jarvis has been improving each week along with Shinskie.
  • Stopping BC's run game will be equally difficult. BC's offensive line struggled early, but improved the last two weeks in home games against Wake and FSU. I think Montel Harris will see a lot of success running against Virginia Tech. The Hokies' defensive tackles have yet to step up and have a big game and I think we'll see more of the same this week, even with John Graves closer to 100 percent. I think Harris will become the fourth running back to have a 100 yard game against the Hokies this year.
  • Harris will be the reason this game is close. But Shinskie and BC's struggle on the road combined with Virginia Tech's advantage on special teams is why it will win.
Watch the Box Score For
  • Virginia Tech Sacks
  • Turnovers
  • Montel Harris Rushing Yards
  • Virginia Tech Rushing Average
Virginia Tech Players to Watch
  • 34 - Ryan Williams, Fr., RB
  • 8 - Greg Boone, Sr., TE
  • 6 - Jason Worilds, Jr., DE
  • 22 - Stephan Virgil, Sr., CB
Boston College Players to Watch
  • 15 - David Shinskie, Fr., QB
  • 2 - Montel Harris, So., RB
  • 34 - Mike McLaughlin, Sr., LB
  • 9 - DeLeon Gause, Jr., CB
Final Score

Virginia Tech 23, Boston College 20