Saturday, November 05, 2005

Virginia Tech - Miami Preview

The game we've all been waiting for has finally arrived. As a Hokie fan, this great day could not have come any sooner...

Tonight's heavily-hyped up matchup features America's top two defenses facing off against each other, and it has all the making of another Hokie triumph. Along with having a flawless 8-0 record and better showings against teams that the Hurricanes have stumbled with, Miami will have to deal with quite possibly the loudest and craziest Virginia Tech fanbase they have encountered in years.

With so much at stake for the Hokies, this game has been the talk of the entire campus for practically all season. Virginia Tech fans and Blacksburg residents alike attending the game will be amped up more than ever in attempts of cheering on the Hokies to their 17th consectuive regular season win. When it's all said and done, come 7:45 Saturday night, over 65,000 strong will be as rowdy as ever -- jumping, yelling, and screaming the Hokies for victory.

Though everyone has deemed Miami being Virginia Tech's toughest opponent on the season, I honestly don't think they stand a chance. Virginia Tech has been focused on this match for the entire year, and will be coming out of the gates firing. Virginia Tech's home-field advantage combined with their superior players and coaching will be too much of a factor for a weaker, inexperienced Miami squad. When it's all said and done, the Hokies will come out on top, and in doing so, will take care of the spread as well.

In looking at the Miami offense, their passing game is led by sophomore quarterback Kyle Wright, who is yet to have an impressive showing against a legitimate opponent. His six wins have come against Clemson, Colorado, South Florida, Duke, Temple, and North Carolina, all of whom combined have a dismal record of 18-30 on the year. This year Wright has thrown for 10 touchdowns (7 of which were at Duke and Temple) to go along with 8 interceptions. He comes in to Blacksburg having just thrown 3 interceptions and no scores last week in Miami's 34-16 win over the Tarheels. With this being Wright's first ever trip to Blacksburg, he will struggle under center in the hostile environment. His inexperience will truly show, so look for him to make costly mistakes and commit turnovers. Virginia Tech will feast off the young quarterback's every miscue as he makes his Lane Stadium debut.

Miami's running game is by far their best means of moving the football, as running back Tyrone Moss has been phenomenal for the Hurricanes on the ground. With almost 700 yards to his resume this season, Moss has found the endzone 12 times on the year, good enough for first in the ACC. Making this all possible for Moss has been the success of their huge, experience offensive line. The line averages at 6'5, 303 in size, and four of the five starting linemen are seniors, with the only exception being red-shirted junior center Anthony Wollschiager. With such a talented line and backfield, stopping Miami's strong ground attack will be Virginia Tech's toughest challenge all night.

With all this talk of Miami's offensive game, let's not forget about what has really been holding Miami down this year -- their defensive unit. As the top ranked defense in the entire nation, the Hurricanes have shut down opposing offenses, primarily in the passing game. In last week's victory at Chapel Hill last week, Miami limited UNC to just 86 yards through the air. Led by a strong secondary and defensive line, the Hurricanes have been able to maintain a solid pass rush in addition to their strong coverage. Hokie quarterback Marcus Vick will have to be as focused as ever in addressing such a talented defensive core in order to find success. Look for the Hokies to pound the ball on the ground however, as they will establish the ground attack with running backs Cedric Humes and Mike Imoh.

Final prediction: Hokies 31, Hurricanes 13

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