- The Hokies have a history of not showing up for bowl games. While Kyle Tucker reports the Hokies are focused, I won't believe it until I see it. I've been burned too many times.
- We know the Vols will come ready to play because this game is in Atlanta and Georgia is a big piece of Lane Kiffin's recruiting plan. The Hokies will need to match the intensity of the Vols if they want to win consecutive bowls for the first time in their history.
- The Hokies need this one more than the Vols do. A win would continue their precious 10-win streak and finally get the SEC monkey off their back. Hopefully that's enough to motivate the Hokies going into this game.
Virginia Tech Offense vs. Tennessee Defense
- Each team's running back will be their key on offense in this game. The Hokies need Ryan Williams to pace their offense against the Vols.
- Tennessee's run defense was No. 11 in the SEC in ypc allowed at 4.79 against league foes. Only Kentucky was worse, giving up 5.1 ypc in SEC games. Its worst game against the run came against Ole Miss the same week three of their players were accused of armed robbery in the parking lot of a convenience store. That game saw the Rebels average 7.18 ypc on their way to 359 yards.
- While I doubt the Hokies will be able to match Ole Miss' output in that game, I hope they use Williams in the same ways Ole Miss used Dexter McCluster in that game. McCluster took several direct snaps against the Vols. Hopefully the Hokies will do the same with Williams out the Wild Turkey after having a few weeks to practice it.
- When the Hokies are forced to pass, they need to be as efficient as they've been the whole year. The Tennessee secondary is probably the best we'll face all year. The Vols have nine interceptions and have allowed only five touchdowns through the air in 2009.
- The wild card when Tech is on offense is the play of Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is the first true dual-threat quarterback the Vols have faced this year. I think Taylor will have to do damage with his feet as well as his arm against Tennessee.
Virginia Tech Defense vs. Tennessee Offense
- Once again, the running back will be key. Tennessee is 5-0 when Montario Hardesty runs for over 100 yards. I believe stopping Hardesty will be the difference between winning and losing for the Hokies.
- Tech's rush defense improved as the season went on. I was especially impressed by the improvement we saw from the defensive tackles, who weren't much help against Alabama, Nebraska or Georgia Tech. However, starting with the North Carolina game they were more disruptive.
- This helped the Hokies only give up one touchdown on the ground in their last five games.
- Jonathan Crompton, Tennessee's quarterback has improved greatly under Lane Kiffin's tutelage. While Crompton was Tennessee's answer to Sean Glennon for most of his career, he's been very efficient in the last have of this season.
- A lot of that has to do with the receivers around him. Gerald Jones and Denarius Moore give Crompton two solid targets that will test Virginia Tech's cornerbacks.
- Look for two guys to see time at boundary cornerback in place of Stephan Virgil. I think the more experienced Cris Hill will get the start, but I'm more interested in seeing freshman Jayron Hosley because I think he's our boundary cornerback of the future. Jones told the Knoxville News Sentinel whoever starts at boundary will have to make the Vols respect them, so look for Hill and Hosley to get tested early and often.
- Hill and Hosley can get helped immensely by Tech's pass rush if it doesn't give Crompton time to be comfortable. This is another big matchup to watch because it matches strength against strength. The Hokies had 26 sacks in ACC play, but Tennessee gave up only six against SEC opponents. Jason Worilds and Nekos Brown will see a senior left tackle and freshman right tackle on the Vol offensive line. One of them needs to spend a lot of time in the Vols backfield.
- I think the Hokies will have to work hard for their points while the Volunteers will get theirs in quick bursts. Hopefully slow and steady will win the Peach Bowl.
Watch the Box Score For
- Virginia Tech yards per carry
- Montario Hardesty o/u 100 yards
- Virginia Tech sacks
Virginia Tech Players to Watch
- 34 - Ryan Williams, Fr., RB
- 5 - Tyrod Taylor, Jr., QB
- 6 - Jason Worilds, Jr., DE
- 20 - Jayron Hosley, Fr., CB
Tennessee Players to Watch
- 2 - Montario Hardesty, Sr., RB
- 78 - Aaron Douglas, Fr., OT
- 14 - Eric Berry, Jr., SS
- 5 - Rico McCoy, Sr., LB
Virginia Tech 23, Tennessee 21