This is the fourth all-time meeting between the two schools, with the Fighting Irish winning the past two games. The first-ever meeting occurred in South Bend back in 2016, with the Hokies coming out on top.
Now, for our staff prediction for Saturday’s game:
I believe this is a winnable game. Regardless of how I feel about Virginia Tech’s weaknesses, I think the Hokies match up well against the Fighting Irish. Unlike the previous two meetings, the Fighting Irish do not have Ian Book at quarterback. Regardless of who Notre Dame starts under center, I like Virginia Tech’s chances here.
I am worried about the offense. That hasn’t changed. But it’s more about the quarterback position and play-calling. I trust Virginia Tech’s skill guys to make plays.
I think this game will be ugly at times, and Virginia Tech gets enough from its offense to pull off the upset and improve to 4-1. When I spoke to One Foot Down this week, I went with the Irish, but I am flipping my pick. Do me right, Hokies.
Hokies 24, Notre Dame 20
What a great game to welcome myself back to GC! First, thanks to everyone on the Gobbler Country Team for having me back and to all you crazy fans out there for making me want to come back so badly.
That being said...Notre Dame. Under Brian Kelly, the Irish typically do well after a loss but haven’t had many home losses over the last few years to compare to this situation. The Hokies, on the other hand, are coming off of a mediocre performance against a Richmond team that laid bare some of the offensive issues that have been festering on this team for the last few years.
This is where I would throw out some numbers about Tech being in the top 10 of the Power 5 in 3rd down defense at a 28% conversion clip or Norte Dame only averaging about 2.3 yards per carry, but somehow those figures don’t seem to matter as much in this one. What feels the most important is that this is the kind of game that can save a coach's career, especially an offensive coach who could use some brownie points with the fan base.
If we see a turnover fest, I love the Hokies, especially at night in Lane. If not, this game gets really close. I see turnovers galore!
Hokies 31, Notre Dame 14
Argh!!! Why did Notre Dame having the wheels start to wobble have to happen this weekend? The wise guys are calling this a pick ‘em, and as game day and the ND QB situation become more precarious there is a tiny tilt toward Tech giving a point... Who the heck would have predicted that gem, at this time of the season? Who would have thought that Clemson would fall out of the top 25 let alone top 5 teams this season, either, but I repeat myself... the preconceived notions of what college football is supposed to look like from season to season... is over! Recruiting is straight up money for endorsements, now. There is also a dearth of quality quarterback talent everywhere. (Translation for those people missing a dictionary: College quarterbacks stink on a stick because most high school quarterbacks are not quarterbacks.)
So, we have two stumbling crippled offenses facing off against defenses that will probably be the difference in the game. Add to that some special teams play that might make a difference. Who’d have thought that effectively a decade after Frank Beamer’s last really good football team left the stadium, that BeamerBall would make its way back into the picture of Hokie sports. Well, that’s what I am predicting.
The Hokie offense will struggle because its an Urban Meyer Bowling Green Read/Option being operated by a quarterback who is 30 pounds too light and 5 inches too short. (well probably 6) The Hokie defense will have to step up, stop the wobbly Notre Dame offense, and make it a good old-fashioned mud bowl slugfest. It’s going to be cool and wet with intermittent light rain fall in Blacksburg. Warsham field is famous for becoming a grass topped slop bowl, and the difference might be who gets picked off and a chance good short drive score the last points. Or who gets strip-sacked and a scoop and score flips the scoreboard.
I am thinking that this game’s O/U might be south of 50, and the spread of -1 point tipping the betting odds to Virginia Tech might be a really interestingly accurate number. I picked this one as a potential upset at the beginning of the season. It is only technically in upset territory. The Irish aren’t that good this year, and the Hokies aren’t as bad as the Firebirds think. I think Tech’s odds on pulling off another dance for the crowd at mid-field as the clock strikes 11:00 PM. Is about even. That’s pretty good, considering.
Notre Dame’s weakness on offense lines up nicely with Virginia Tech’s own offensive woes. I don’t see this game being a shootout between offenses, but more of what the defenses can do. I think the Hokie defense has an opportunity to take over this game, and if the defense is able to score, or at least generate some turnovers that put VT into easy scoring positions this game goes to the Hokies. If not, and Virginia Tech finds itself flat and languishing on both sides of the ball... it will be easy to see VT 3-2. But, I say the energy and excitement of a night game at Lane Stadium works its magic and the Hokies win.