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Know the Opponent: Cincinnati Defense

A preview of the Cincinnati Defense.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech's offense will need to play within themselves and run the football effectively to win the Military Bowl. The season has been up and down for this offense as the coaches have shifted linemen, running backs and wide receivers to account for injuries or lack of production. Overall, I am not surprised by how poorly and well the offense has done this season, but what does surprise me is how explosive they can be one week and how brutally poor they are the next. A month ago the Hokies failed to score an offensive touchdown against Wake Forest and the following week drove down the field in explosive fashion to beat UVA to reach a bowl game for the 22nd straight time. Quarterback play is a big reason for the inconsistency this season and Michael Brewer will need to play efficiently to beat his former Texas Tech coach and current Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville who many recognize as one of the best defensive minds in football.

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Cincinnati's defensive allows 448 yards per game while giving up 26.8 points per game and is led by senior linebacker Jeff Luc (FSU transfer) , senior defensive end Terrell Hartsfield, sophomore safety Zach Edwards and senior linebacker Nick Temple. All four of these players have combined for 373 tackles, 17.5 sacks and 9 turnovers on the season headed into the matchup with the Hokies.

Hokies Offensive Matchup

Virginia Tech's offense matches up really well with this Bearcat defense as young playmakers Bucky Hodges, Isaiah Ford and Cam Philips will have the opportunity to attack an 'okay' secondary that has a bend, but don't break mentality, but the Hokies will need to break them and the best way to do that is on the ground. With Trey Edmunds and Jerome Wright likely to play, the Hokies will need to attack Cincinnati up the middle where they are giving up 4.8 yards per carry  and 181 yards per game, on the season. JC Coleman has shown that he is a really tough player and will be looking to continue on the success he has found late this season by breaking long runs and getting into space where he is a legitimate home-run threat.

All of this, however, is contingent upon Michael Brewer and Brendan Motley, Virginia Tech's quarterbacks. Brewer will get the start, but I believe that Motley will have several packages in the game plan for Saturday. If both of these young men take care of the football and play efficiently the Hokies will be able to score some points and help Bud Foster's defense.

Go Hokies and Beat Cincinnati!