VT vs. UVA

Tre Turner (11) makes a catch against the Cavalier's defense, Nov. 29, 2019.

The Virginia Tech Hokies (5–5, 3–3 ACC) will head to Charlottesville to face off against the rival Virginia Cavaliers (6–4, 4–2) for the 102nd time on Nov. 27. Both teams had their share of ups and downs this season, but fans would agree that this game matters more than any other matchup each year. Virginia Tech diehards will hope the team can overcome the myriad of issues facing the team this season and pull out a win in a similar way to last year, where a struggling team was able to rise to the moment and take the Commonwealth Cup back to Blacksburg.

If Cavalier quarterback Brennan Armstrong is healthy, this game will likely be the toughest offensive matchup the Hokies have faced all year. UVA is a juggernaut on that side of the ball, ranking second in the nation in yards per game and scoring 34.4 points per game in their contests. Armstrong has been the catalyst for the Cavaliers’ consistently high-level performance with 395.2 passing yards per game, 27 passing touchdowns and seven rushing touchdowns. If the Cavaliers’ record was better, the junior quarterback would likely be in contention for the Heisman Trophy. Armstrong is helped out by a good offensive line and a great group of pass-catchers, headlined by big-time receiver Dontayvion Wicks (1,004 receiving yards, nine touchdowns), dynamic “football-player” Keytaon Thompson (983 scrimmage yards, four touchdowns), and talented tight end Jelani Woods (459 yards, six touchdowns). Virginia Tech’s defense should have its hands completely full with this group.

On defense, UVA is a completely different story, with one of the worst units in college football (123rd out of 130 teams). The Cavaliers have consistently struggled to stop opposing offenses, giving up 28 points or more in seven of their 10 games. They are not without talent, as “play-everywhere” corner Nick Grant has been a menace all season, with seven pass breakups, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble on the year. Safety Joey Blount also played well, with two interceptions, three pass breakups and three tackles for loss on the year.

When Virginia Tech is on offense, it should look to run the ball as much as possible. The two-headed backfield of Raheem Blackshear and Malachi Thomas, along with the rushing ability of quarterback Braxton Burmeister should be able to take advantage of what is a weak UVA defensive line. The Hokies may be able to find success through the air, but they should try to minimize Grant’s and Blount’s chances to make plays.

When the Cavaliers have the football, it seems unlikely Virginia Tech will be able to find a way to slow UVA down. While the Hokies have a solid secondary that should hold the Cavaliers’ receivers to average games, UVA can likely create mismatches in the passing game, and a light box seems dangerous against a solid Cavalier rushing attack. Virginia Tech will have to hope for an off day from Armstrong or big games from Dax Hollifield and Alan Tisdale if they want to create a problem for UVA’s offense.

Though it should be an interesting matchup, it seems the Cavaliers have the edge up in this one. Don’t be surprised if Woods has a big game going against Nasir Peoples and the Hokies’ linebackers. The 6-foot-7, 265-pound behemoth could easily go for a 100-plus-yard game with a touchdown against Virginia Tech and will likely be the X-factor in the matchup. It will be a close game, but UVA will likely pull out the win in this one.

Prediction: UVA 33, Virginia Tech 30

This preview was written on November 14th. Virginia will play Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech will play Miami on November 20th.

Recommended Stories