The rushing attack will continue to struggle:
The weary Virginia Tech running game will not get a break Saturday when they welcome the sixth ranked Boston College run defense to Lane Stadium. Following six straight quarters of terrible backfield production, the Hokies began finding room to run in the second half against Miami, but fumbled on three consecutive drives.
The Eagles feature three lineman tipping the scales around the 300 pound mark, and a pair of linebackers (Steven Daniels and Josh Keyes) who have each recorded over 40 tackles in 2014. If Virginia Tech can't find a capable backfield compliment to freshman Marshawn Williams and improved offensive line blocking, the Hokies will again struggle to find success on the ground.
The Hokies' passing attack will be improved:
The Virginia Tech passing attack has thrown for more than 200 yards or more in only one of it's last four games, but could have a rebound game against Boston College this weekend. Coach Frank Beamer decided to stick with junior quarterback Michael Brewer, instead of opting for senior Mark Leal, and it could pay dividends.
Boston College features a capable secondary, including a ball hawking safety in Justin Simmons, but the Eagles are prone to struggling against an opponent's short passing attack. This type of chink in an opponents defensive armor suits the style of Brewer and the Virginia Tech offense. Look for Brewer to heavily involve his tight end duo of Bucky Hodges and Ryan Malleck, and once again throw north of 200 yards Saturday.
#Hokies coach Frank Beamer confirmed Michael Brewer took first team snaps in Sunday's practice. Said Brewer is starting QB going forward.— Norm Wood (@normwood) October 27, 2014
The game will be up for grabs heading into the final quarter
Last week's lopsided loss to Miami was all but sealed before Beamer's insightful "We've got to be a better football team" response to an ESPN reporter's halftime question. The embarrassment of the Hokies last two performances should lead to a closer contest in Blacksburg this week. After all, pride can be a powerful motivator—even for a struggling football team.
This week's game against Boston College could be within three points or less, in either direction, heading into the final quarter. Dual-threat quarterback Tyler Murphy will carry the Eagles offense, but won't bury Virginia Tech and the hope of Hokie nation by halftime as Miami's Duke Johnson did.
From Tonight -- Coach Beamer on Tyler Murphy and BC’s run game: http://t.co/HBpX7QApKk— Tech Talk LIVE! (@VT_TTL) October 28, 2014
Boston College pulls out a narrow victory:
While the Virginia Tech performance should be improved enough to avoid another lopsided loss, it may not save them from dipping below the .500 mark on the season. This game could follow a similar script to the one set forth earlier this season by USC and Boston College. The Trojans were able to stay with the upset minded Eagles into the latter parts of the fourth quarter, until Murphy broke off a long touchdown run to finally seal the victory for Boston College.
The Virginia Tech defense will surrender a lot of yards to Murphy, the Eagles quarterback and leading rusher. The Hokies will likely employee a "bend-but-don't-break" strategy; letting Murphy get his share of yards while focusing on containing the offensive weapons that surround him. This method can be successful, but usually a game-changing player like Murphy will find a way to do just that—change the game. A steady diet of the mobile Murphy will finally end an improved Hokies effort, 27-24 in the Eagles favor.