Tomorrow, the Hokies will take the field at about 2:00 to warm up for what could be the penultimate game of the season for them. The math is pretty simple right now, win out or stay home for Bowl Season. That’s some weird sort of pressure since the reality of picking a booger after a .500 season is sort of scant consolation, but we’ve recently had that thread to tie some sort of bow around an effort. It’s not like the Hokies haven’t faced this sort of “backs against the wall” situation, either. Both 2014 and 2015 were emergency scrambles to try to get something positive done.
This season is really no different, except that we are one game short and unlikely to make that game up. It doesn’t help that we are wallowing at 4-5, and sporting a two game losing streak that has the entire program demoralized. There is a bit of relief on in the mix, however; at least for the Saturday contest. The Miami Hurricanes are 5-5 overall and 2-4 in the ACC. They have dropped their last four games, starting with the Hoos, and ending with the Yellow Jackets.
To say that Mark Richt is running a struggling team is not an overstatement. Miami can’t pick a quarterback, neither of whom is very good at the moment. Neither Malik Rosier nor N’Kosi Perry has proven to be an answer. The tragic fib of the “two quarterback system” is the word “system” and not what it really is; (not repeatable on family radio). Richt is also under a massive amount of heat. The difference between booster “boo birds” in the Miami money making mill, and the Hokie Club Penny Trickler is immense. The Al Golden years of the Miami Hurricanes have been a bitter pill for their boosters to swallow, and Richt was bought to cure that problem pronto. Well, guess what? The laws of program physics cannot be defied with any amount of money. This is Richt’s third year in the program, and his second season of recruiting in the books. The effect is pretty familiar. Isn’t it?
Miami does bring a pretty stout defense to the mix. With the exception of the LSU opening disaster, the ‘Canes haven’t allowed more than 30 points in each game. Most have been below 25. The Hurricane running game isn’t stellar but it does generate yardage. The Miami trio of running backs is pretty typical in a Read/Option -pass almost never offense. Primary running back Travis Homer leads the team with 732 yards rushing averaging about 5 and a half yards per clip. Their number 2 back is DeeJay Dallas at nearly 6 yards per attempt and a total of 562 on the board. Malik Rosier follows them with 210 yards at 3.9 yards per attempt. ’Cane passing isn’t much to speak of in the game changing category; but they do pass enough to make it foolish to load the box. N’Kosi Perry actually is a slightly higher rated QB. The wise guys have given a 3 point inducement to put some dollars on Tech, even at home, but as we discussed a few weeks ago, the Lane Stadium intimidation factor is no longer a sustaining factor.
Tech has kept the personnel announcements to an absolute dull roar. The information mill on who will be playing, when, is grinding nothing but dust. The USA Today Sports Injury grid gets us recovering only Dylan Rivers out of our four walking wounded players. Deshawn McClease, Rayshard Ashby, and Jerrod Hewitt are all listed as questionable. It seems that when it rains it pours and the defensive injury pile up has definitely had a negative effect on that side of the ball. There is no sugar coating it, our defense is going to be challenged.
This is Richt’s best chance to break a huge four game losing streak, and get one more win for a face saving bowl game before facing Pitt. So, this is in all probability Miami’s shot at post season as well. If they lose tomorrow, they drop out of bowl eligibility this season. The rub is that without a make-up game for the ECU cancellation, the Hokies are in the exact same position. It’s why many Hokie Fans were hoping for some sort of Mid-Major opponent on the weekend of December 1. It seems increasingly doubtful that the event will happen.
Saturday November 17, 2018 will be significant or not. If it is it won’t be for good reasons. We’ll let you ponder that one.
It’s Maroon Effect and Military Appreciation Day.
Let’s hope it’s the next step to Bowl eligibility.