Virginia Tech Hokies (5-1, 1-1) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-1, 3-0)
Time: 6:30 p.m. EDT
Date: Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011
Place: Winston-Salem, NC
Stadium: Groves Stadium
(Cap: 31,500, Open: 1968, Field: Field Turf)
TV: None (ESPN3.com)
Radio: VT IMG, XM TBA, Sirius TBA
Spread: Virginia Tech -7
Weather: Low of 46, No Chance of Rain
Wake Forest: The Deacs might be the most surprising team in the ACC so far this year. After losing a heart-breaker in overtime to start the season at Syracuse, they've rolled off four consecutive wins, including last week against Florida State. If it hadn't been for an injury to quarterback Tanner Price against Syracuse, Wake could very well be undefeated. After a freshman year full of growing pains, Price has established himself as a starter and has 10 TD passes this year, compared to seven in all of 2010.
Trends: Virginia Tech has lost its last five games against the spread while Wake Forest has won its last four against the spread. Virginia Tech has won its last nine true road games, including six conference games. Wake Forest has won three consecutive home games after losing its previous four.
History Lesson: Virginia Tech is 23-11-1 all-time against the Deacs, 10-5 against them in Winston-Salem and 3-0 against them under Frank Beamer (all since 2004). The Hokies have won the last four games in the series with their last loss coming in 1983 in Blacksburg. They've won the last seven in Winston-Salem with their last loss there coming in 1970. In a scheduling quirk, this will be the Hokies' third trip to Wake since joining the ACC in 2004. The Deacons have made only one trip to Blacksburg in that time, coming last year. Tech dominated last year's game, taking a 49-14 lead into half and winning 52-21. David Wilson led the Hokies on the ground, going for 105 yards on 15 carries. Wake's Josh Harris ran all over the Hokies with 247 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns.
What to Expect
- Expect a better performance from Wake's offense. Last year, the Deacs got their yards in chunks, but didn't have a single drive that lasted longer than six plays. Price was 3-for-16 for 92 yards and a TD, with 78 of those yards coming on one play. Harris had seven carries for no gain or negative yards and eight carries for 10 yards or more.
- Expect the Hokies to not be a complete disaster against the run. The reason I think the Hokies will win this one is because they've done well on defense against teams that run the ball out of the shotgun. The injuries are obviously a big concern and I think Wake will get its share of big plays, but I don't think we'll get gashed as much as we did last week. Wake will go under center, especially in the red zone, but for the most part they're going to be in spread.
- Expect a balanced spread offense from Wake, a la Clemson. In four games against FBS teams, Wake has run the ball 148 times and thrown it 143.
- Expect the Hokies to have success running the ball. I always like Tech's chances against a 3-4 defense that doesn't have a huge defensive tackle. Wake's Nikita Whitlock is very good, especially in the pass rush, but he's not someone who can clog up the middle by himself. Wake is allowing 4.2 ypc against FBS teams this year and if Tech doesn't have at least that, it's in big trouble.
- Expect a hard-fought game. The Deacs have improved by leaps and bounds this year and are far from the team we saw last year in Blacksburg. Most of that comes down to Tanner Price and how much he's grown in the Wake offense the last year. Tech is going to have to harass him.
Hokies win if: They pound the rock and don't give up big plays.
Demon Deacons win if: Win the turnover battle and wear down Tech's defense on the ground.
Dot-dot-dots: Jarrett Boykin broke the school record for career receiving yards last week and has 2,356 receiving yards ... Logan Thomas' 23-for-25 day throwing the ball produced the highest single-game completion percentage by a quarterback (92 percent) in Frank Beamer's tenure at Virginia Tech ... the Hokies have won nine consecutive games against teams from North Carolina, seven consecutive games played in the state and 15 consecutive true road games against teams from the state.