Virginia Tech's defense has a tough task ahead of them as Tommy Tuberville and the Cincinnati Bearcats bolster one of the nations best air-attack offenses. On the season, Cincinnati is averaging 458 yards of total offense with 300 coming through the air, which is ranked 13th best in division 1 college football.
Cincinnati Offensive Leaders
The Bearcats are led by sophomore QB Gunner Kiel who on the year has totaled 3,010 yards though the air while throwing 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Kiel is a Notre Dame transfer who has stepped in and excelled in the air-attack offense that the Bearcats run; however, this offense is slightly more balanced than many of their games would indicate. The Cincinnati rushing attack, led by Mike Boone and Rodriguez Moore, is averaging 158 yard per game with their two leading rushers having scored 14 touchdowns so far this season.
The hard work of any offense comes on the offensive line, which are very good for the Bearcats, but the most impressive position on the offensive side of the ball (and the whole team for that matter) is the wide receivers. Mekale McKay is a stud and future pro as he stands at 6-6 and is a real deep threat that will attack the Hokies secondary, vertically. Shaq Washington is an under-sized slot receiver that has great speed and football IQ that will work all over the field and is a mismatch when lined up across from linebackers.
Virginia Tech Defense Matchup
This is a tough matchup for Virginia Tech's highly touted defense because it requires great discipline and playmaking ability to stop. Cincinnati will take plenty of shots down field, but where they hurt defense is by attacking what they are given, which in turn will make yard after catch critical in this ball game. If the Hokies can limit the yards gained after a catch then I think this game will be in the Hokies hands, but if they cannot do so it might make field position and time of possession are stats to control, which most of the time limits a teams chances to win.
Several players that need to step up for the Hokies in this game are senior safeties Detrick Bonner and Kyshoen Jarrett as well as sophomore defensive en Ken Ekanem and junior defensive end Dadi Nicolas. These four players will have to tackle in space and rush the passer effectively for VT to corral Kiel and the high powered Bearcat attack.
Go Hokies and Beat Cincinnati!