It’s prediction time again, and the shorthanded Gobbler Country staff reaches down to try to figure out what’s going to happen this evening in the part of Pennsylvania that used to be part of Virginia. We’ve stopped keeping score because, frankly, we are all still scratching our heads as to just what this team is, this season. It’s already defied some folks initial expectations. We will eventually post up who walked out with GC Bragging Rights, after the UVa game, but for now we’ll just keep flipping the coins.
The Hokies have either blown out opponents this season, or been blown out themselves. It doesn't get more inconsistent than that. When you look at the Panthers, they resemble toughness - they are stout against the run and up front, and it is a tough place as the road team (especially for the Hokies). However, although Pittsburgh ranks fairly high against the run, they still give up points in bunches. The lowest point total the Panthers' defense has allowed this season to a major conference team is 27 (Marshall) - not a good look if you're a Pitt fan. The Hokies' offense has the potential to put up 30 on that defense, while Foster's defense should continue to build confidence after a great performance against Miami. The one thing that can jeopardize Virginia Tech's chance to win is turnovers. Pittsburgh is very good at taking care of the ball while the Hokies have shown the tendency to cough the football up. If the Hokies can take care of the football, it's their game to lose. Tech 28-20
The Hokies haven't beaten Pittsburgh, away, since 1999. Virginia Tech has never once beaten Pitt at Heinz Field. The Panthers have an elite run defense (5th), but are rocking the 112th passing defense in the FBS. There are simply too many VPI offensive threats on the field, particularly in the passing game, for the Panthers to overcome. As long as the Hokie team that defeated UNC and Miami shows up, this should be a VT win. If not... well, this is a game that has the potential to look like the Syracuse loss; new team, new coaching staff, new regime - old curse. Virginia Tech achieves an away victory, against Pitt, for the first time in 17 years. Tech 35 – 17
I just don’t know. Which team is going to show up this evening? Do we protect the ball? Can we stop Pitt’s run game? Can we run against Pitt’s defense? This is truly an away game, with little crowd energy or support, does that affect this team? There is just too much to really be confident in anything. The score could go either way but this one is a mild shootout. Tech 35 - 31
Tonight is a big night for the Hokies. Pittsburgh has been a house of horrors for Virginia Tech over the years. And the Panthers are always a thorn in the side of the Hokies. So why should we expect anything different tonight? Well, these are different teams this year. The Hokies, under Justin Fuente, don't resemble last year's VT team that was completely inept on offense against Pittsburgh. This team can move the ball and quarterback Jerod Evans is highly efficient. Pitt isn't as strong on defense as they were last year, especially against the pass, but they are still strong versus the run. Will the Hokies resemble the team that "showed up" versus Syracuse? Or is this the team that finally wins at Heinz Field? As tempted and easy as it is to say Pittsburgh, I think the Hokies pull this one out. Tech 34 - 28
Pittsburgh will be ready to play Thursday night. The biggest match up will be Pitt's defensive line versus our offensive line. They manhandled us last year, and the Hokies' unit needs to perform better. If we can keep Evans protected, the Hokies should be able to move the ball. The Pitt offense doesn't scare me, but neither did Syracuse. The game will be physical and low scoring. Tech 27 - 16
Can Justin Fuente beat the Frank Beamer Heinz Field curse? Can the Hokies win without a big ego pumping crowd and that adrenaline? Can Jerod Evans keep the ball moving efficiently in the air? Can we move the ball on the ground? These are questions that should have been answered by now, but they haven't been. Away from Lane we are 1 and 2. Can we beat the jinx? Pitt has a winning record, but they haven't beaten anyone of note. They lost both of their big opponent games, and the Wahoos put up points against them. The Hokies have the talent and skill to win, do they have the will? Fuente and company have been working hard to dispel the win one get all pumped up and carless and then lose one yo-yo. Hokies take this one. Tech 31 – 20
So far so “homer” – It might all be wishful thinking, but we do know what team beat the stuffing out of UNC, BC, ECU, and Miami so I guess we are all hoping that team shows up at Heinz Field this evening.
One Game. One Team. Right Now!