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2011 Virginia Tech Football: What to Watch vs. Boston College

Both teams have suffered their fair share of injuries this season and both will have key players back this week. Boston College gets running back Andre Williams back after he missed the Clemson game with an injured ankle. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech will again have the services of defensive end James Gayle, who also missed his team's last game with an ankle injury.

Will the return of Williams (coupled with Virginia Tech's loss of Jayron Hosley) help the Eagles pull of the big upset in Blacksburg or will Coach Spaz and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Season continue for the folks from Chestnut Hill? BC is staring down the barrels of 1-6 despite high hopes for the season. And when a team has its back against the wall and has nothing to lose like the Ealges, it's important to put them away. It's one thing for a team to have nothing to lose, but it's another for a team to have nothing to lose and hope.

Tech's goal Saturday needs to be to take away the hope early.

(Note: Due to the schedule this week, this was done hastily.)

Virginia Tech Offense vs. Boston College Defense

  • BC's run defense isn't nearly as stout as it has been in the past and the loss of Kaleb Ramsey didn't help things. Last year, BC gave up 2.68 YPC, the lowest in the country. This year it's up to 4.13, right in the middle of the national rankings.
  • Without Ramsey, BC is undersized up front (for a BC team) even though they have 330-pound freshman Max Ricci at one of the tackle spots. Both tackles are freshmen, but the Eagles still have all-everything Luke Kuechly at mike, so it will be interesting to see what kind of success the Hokies have running between the tackles, especially early.
  • Where I think the Hokies can have some success is running the ball with Logan Thomas. Tajh Boyd ran the ball effectively against the Eagles and so did Northwestern QB Kain Colter in the Eagles' opener. Look for some designed runs for Thomas, especially on short-yardage situations where the BC defense has been somewhat defense this year.
  • BC is giving up eight yards per passing attempt against FBS teams this year. But despite having one of the worst pass defenses in the ACC, the Eagles have only allowed four passing TDs all year. That's because the BC D is actually decent against the pass in the red zone. Opposing QBs have a 132.3 rating against BC this year, but that number drops to 98.1 in the red zone.
  • That's in contrast to how Thomas has been in the RZ this year. His passer rating is 136.9, but it goes up to 147.4 in the red zone. The Hokies are going to be able to move the ball on this BC team, but whether or not they're able to cash in when they get to the red zone will determine if BC has hope early on.

Virginia Tech Defense vs. Boston College Offense

  • BC has a punchers chance because it's a pro-style offense that will line up and try to run the ball right at the Hokies. So far Tech has only played one team like that and it ran the ball right down its throat. Sure, Miami has a much better running back and offensive line than what BC will have Saturday, but it still remains to be seen if the Hokies can stop the run game.
  • One guy to watch will be DT Luther Maddy, who started to really come along and be disruptive against Wake Forest. If he continues to develop he's going to be outstanding.
  • As is the case whenever Tech plays a team like BC, it needs to force third-and-longs and then get pressure on the QB. Do that and the Hokies will be fine.
  • The Hokies picked a good week to be without Jayron Hosley. Injuries have hurt BC's receiver corps and against FBS opponents the Eagles average 6.0 ypa (11th in ACC), have three TD passes (worst in the ACC) to five interceptions and a passer rating of 101.8 (worst in the ACC). 
  • Chase Rettig is a solid QB, but he doesn't have great options to throw to and usually doesn't have a lot of time to throw the ball. Having Gayle back will be big for the Hokies as they try to force Rettig to make mistakes.

Watch the Box Score

  • Turnovers
  • VT Red Zone Pct
  • BC Yards Per Carry
  • VT 3rd Down Pct

Virginia Tech Players to Watch

  • 3 - Logan Thomas, So., QB
  • 7 - Marcus Davis, Jr., WR
  • 92 - Luther Maddy, Fr., DT
  • 8 - Detrick Bonner, Fr., CB

Boston College Players to Watch

  • 44 - Andre Williams, So., RB
  • 81 - Chris Pantale, Jr., TE
  • 40 - Luke Kuechly, Jr., LB
  • 4 - Donnie Fletcher, Sr., CB

Final Score

Virginia Tech 38, Boston College 17