FACTS & STATS: Site: Lane Stadium (65,632) — Blacksburg, Virginia.
Television: ESPN. Home Record: Miami 4-0, Virginia Tech 2-2. Away Record:
Miami 0-3, Virginia Tech 2-1. Neutral Record: Miami 0-0, Virginia Tech 0-0.
Conference Record: Miami 1-2, Virginia Tech 1-2. Series Record: Miami-Florida
GAME NOTES: Two teams with identical records will square off in ACC action on
Thursday evening, as the Miami Hurricanes take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in
conference action at Lane Stadium.
It has been a tale of two seasons for Al Golden’s Hurricanes, who are a
perfect 4-0 at home, while still seeking their first road win. Miami has
fallen on the road at Louisville, Nebraska and Georgia Tech. The Hurricanes
have had a long layoff, as they closed out its non-conference slate last time
out, knocking off Cincinnati, 55-34 back on Oct. 11.
Frank Beamer’s Hokies are an identical 4-3 on the season and like Miami, have
some ground to make up in the ACC’s Coastal Division standings at 1-2.
Blacksburg has not provided its usual safe haven for Tech this season, with
two losses at Lane Stadium already. The team was last in action on Oct. 16,
losing at Pittsburgh, 21-16.
Miami holds an 18-13 series advantage against Virginia Tech, although it was
the Hokies who earned the win last year, a 42-24 decision in Miami Gardens.
The Hurricanes come into this game following their most explosive outing of
the season, putting up 55 points on the Bearcats. It is no coincidence that
the Hurricanes are starting to peak, as star tailback Duke Johnson does the
same. He rushed for a season-high 162 yards in the win over Cincinnati and in
the process, passed former WR Santana Moss as the school’s all-time leader in
career all-purpose yards (4,427).
It marked the third straight game over the century mark on the ground for
Johnson, who has now amassed 787 yards (7.2 ypc) and six TDs through seven
Johnson’s production has taken some of the burden off of freshman QB Brad
Kaaya, who has played well for the most part, completing 63 percent of his
throws, for 1,806 yards, with 16 TDS against nine INTs.
There is no dominant threat down the field like in years past for Miami. Tight
end Clive Walford paces all receivers with 23 catches, for 306 yards and four
The Miami defense has had its ups and downs the season. The squad has shown
some vulnerability against the run (151.6 ypg), but has been strong against
the pass (175.9 ypg). The team has recorded 16 sacks and forced 14 turnovers
Senior linebacker Denzel Perryman is as good as it gets and leads the team in
tackles with 51 stops. He has one sack, one interception and one forced fumble
to his credit. Fellow senior linebacker Thurston Armbrister (39 tackles) has
been a force as well, especially upfield, with team-highs in TFL (6-0) and
The Hokies have been hit or miss offensively this season, despite averaging
nearly 400 yards per game. Tech is rushing for just overt 150 yards per game,
while coming in just under 250 yards passing.
Quarterback Michael Brewer has completed 61 percent of his throws on the year,
but is his own worst enemy, as his interceptions (11) match his touchdown
Brewer does have weapons at his disposal on the outside, led by wideouts
Willie Byrn (33 rec, 253 yds) and Isaiah Ford (32 rec, 424 yds, 4 TDs).
The ground game lacks a game-changing back, as Marshawn Williams leads the
team with just 337 yards and three rushing scores.
The Hokies have had a great deal of success on defense this season, limiting
foes to just 326.0 yards per game, good for 20th in the nation. The result is
a team that is allowing just 20 points per game (19th nationally).
Senior linebacker Chase Williams headlines the unit, with a team-best 54 total
tackles. He is also tops on the team in TFL (8.5), with 3.5 sacks. Senior
cornerback Kyshoen Jarrett (38 tackles, 2 INTs) and sophomore cornerback
Kendall Fuller (26 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 INT) are constant contributors for a
top-notch secondary. Junior end Dadi Nicolas (29 tackles, 7.0 TFL, 4.5 sacks)
is the player to watch up front.
These teams were expected to make a run at the Coastal Division crown, and
although they are currently buried in the standings, a big win could propel
either team towards a late run. Johnson’s dynamic rushing could be the
difference in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Florida 24, Virginia Tech 20