Many Virginia Tech fans probably wish they could rewind the season to halftime of the first game, when the Hokies led the top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes 17-14 in Blacksburg. But Ohio State came out firing in the second half, Braxton Miller executed a spin move that will make highlight reels for decades to come, and less than two months later, Va Tech is 3-5 and staring down the barrel of bowl ineligibility.
They now travel to Massachusetts to face a Boston College squad singing similar tunes. After a 2-0 start, the Eagles have dropped their last four, including bizarre back-to-back losses at Duke and against Wake Forest earlier this month. The game against the Demon Deacons was an especially bizarre 3-0 finish that hearkened back to the days of leather helmets.
It is also very bizarre that the Eagles are only 3-5 given that they have the second-ranked defense in the nation statistically. They’re giving up just over 60 yards on the ground per game, a total that can stack up to some of the most dominant college defenses in the last 20 years. Virginia Tech comes in with some solid defensive numbers of their own.
So what will happen Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium? Fans can gear up for an old-fashioned, hard knocking, low-scoring battle that will leave both sides bloodied and bruised.
It is no secret that the Eagles will be looking to run the ball early and often and seek to control the matchup via time of possession. The Hokies would love to do the exact same thing, and in a game where yards are at a premium, the most valuable players on each side could end up being the place kickers.
Tech has a noticeable avenge in the kicking game, as 6-1″ sophomore Joey Slye has proven to be very reliable inside of 50. He has connected on 11 of 13 attempts in that range, although he is 0-3 from outside of 50 yards. Simply put, if the Hokies can get the ball inside of BC’s 30 yard line, they’re going to be cashing in for at least three points.
The kicking statistics for Boston College read more like a spreadsheet, as they have auditioned four different players for the role throughout the season. Alex Howell and Mike Knoll will likely be called upon this weekend during field goals and extra points, but the Eagles have only attempted seven field goals in eight games this year. Expect one of these three kickers to be lining up a 3-pointer in the final moments that will determine the outcome of this battle. Prediction: Va Tech 16 Bosco 13
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