Three Reasons Why Miami Could Beat Virginia Tech
The #9 Miami Hurricanes come to Blacksburg, Virginia on Saturday afternoon to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies. Sitting at 4-3, the Hokies are unranked and reeling following a shocking home loss at the hands of the Liberty Flames last Saturday.
The Hokies are somehow 2.5-point favorites against the Hurricanes, despite all of the trials and tribulations that Tech has faced as a program over the past month.
Can Tech beat Miami on Saturday? It's certainly possible, but here's three reasons why it might not happen.
1. Virginia Tech fails to stop dual-threat Miami quarterback D'Eriq King
Virginia Tech's defense is reeling following a lackluster performance against the Liberty Flames last Saturday. The unit failed to keep gap integrity on run fits, and continued to struggle to wrap up and tackle, especially in the open field. The struggle to tackle included lackluster efforts against several of Liberty's playmakers, as well as the Flames' dual-threat quarterback, Malik Willis.
Ah, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
You thought a Justin Hamilton defense would perform better against a dual-threat quarterback than some of Bud Foster's units in the last few years? Think again.
And now, Virginia Tech faces the best dual-threat quarterback on the schedule with the season at a crossroads. What could possibly go wrong?
Miami quarterback D'Eriq King has been everything that Hurricanes fans have expected, and more, since transferring into the program from Houston. King had nearly 550 all-purpose yards by himself a week ago, which is a microcosm of what he has done all year for the 'Canes. King has completed nearly 64% of his passes for 1,828 yards and 16 touchdowns to four interceptions this season. He has also rushed for over 400 yards and two touchdowns on the year as well.
This will be no easy task on Saturday for the Hokies to attempt to stop King, who has been one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC in 2020.
2. Miami slows down Virginia Tech's rushing attack
At 277.4 yards per game, Virginia Tech enters play on Saturday with the fourth-best rushing offense in college football. Led by Khalil Herbert, the running game has been the basis for the entire offense for the Hokies in 2020.
With Herbert hobbled with a hamstring injury suffered against Liberty, it is unknown whether or not he will be a full go on Saturday against Miami. Herbert is clearly Tech's best back, and he represents the Hokies' best chance to run the football effectively against a good Miami front.
This Miami defense is good enough to contain Virginia Tech's rushing attack if they sell out on the run, which would largely stymie the Hokies' best chance for consistent offense. This will be an element to watch, whether Herbert is healthy or not.
3. Coaching, Coaching, Coaching
Virginia Tech's comedy of errors late in the loss to Liberty last week led many in the fan base to question whether or not the Hokies are coached well enough to compete in the ACC.
It's a fair question, given how poorly the team played and how out of position the players looked at times throughout the game, not just in the final sequence. This has been a common occurrence all year long, as Tech has not looked prepared nearly as much as one would expect in year five of the Fuente era in Blacksburg. The coaching staff needs this win desperately, both for a short-term reprieve from criticism, as well as for the hope of long-term improvement of the program.
If Fuente and his staff are out-gunned by second-year head coach Manny Diaz and his staff (who have received plenty of criticism themselves, by the way), watch out. It could get ugly in a hurry in Blacksburg.