Three Reasons Why Virginia Tech Could Beat Wake Forest
Another week, another game against a North Carolina school.
The Hokies will travel to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest this weekend as both teams are riding high following big wins. The Hokies took care of business against Boston College while the Deamon Deacons pulled away late from UVA.
This is an intriguing matchup for the Hokies as a loss could effectively end their pursuit of a spot in the ACC Championship.
Here are three reasons why I don't believe a slip up is in store for Virginia Tech this Saturday.
Wake Forest does not have the means to stop VT's offense.
Virginia Tech's offense, led by Hendon Hooker and Khalil Herbert, has been the talk of the ACC after yet another 40-point performance against BC.
The Hokies are now second in the conference and scoring and third in yardage. It is now very well established that opposing defenses will have their work cut out for them going against the Hokies, especially in the running game.
There may come a game this season where a defense can significantly hinder the VT offense, but WF is perhaps the least likely team on the Hokies' schedule to achieve that feat.
In ACC games, Wake is second from last in scoring defense and third from last in total defense; the exact inverse of VT's offense. If the law of averages has anything to say about it, this should be an easy matchup for the Hokies offensively.
It is also important to note Wake's rushing defense, in particular, is the third-worst in the conference. Boogie Basham is an incredibly talented player for Wake up front, but aside from him, the Deacons struggle to get a solid push into the backfield.
Meanwhile, the Hokies have the ACC's best rushing offense. Expect Khalil Herbert to have another monster game this week as the Hokies could easily score upwards of 50 or 60 points on Saturday.
WF's offense is solid, but the Hokies could actually match up well.
The Deacons are having their own solid offensive outputs this season, averaging 31.7 points in ACC games. QB Sam Hartman is sixth in the conference at 242.3 passing yards per game.
WF definitely has one of the conference's better offenses, leading fans to believe the Hokies' struggling defense might have a tough matchup ahead of them. But the advanced numbers could suggest a different story.
According to Sharp College Football, Wake's offense is middle-of-the-road when it comes to explosiveness, coming in at eighth in the ACC in explosive drives. Meanwhile, allowing explosive plays is the Hokie defense's greatest downfall, as they are last in the ACC in explosive drives defended.
UNC, in particular, was a very unfavorable matchup for the Hokies as they put together explosive drive after explosive drive. Wake's offense is very different from the Tar Heels, as they prefer to incorporate short-to-medium length passes and runs.
I will not be so bold as to predict the Hokies to completely shut down the Deacons' offense. So far, the Hokies have not shown close to the capability to do so.
However, especially with Jermaine Waller potentially returning, the Hokies should do well in slowing down Wake Forest's slow-and-steady offense.
Expect the Deacons to score a few times, but not nearly enough needed to keep up with the Hokies.
There is too much at stake for the Hokies.
With UNC's shocking loss to Florida State last week, the door was suddenly reopened for the Hokies to make an ACC title game run. The Hokies needed the Tar Heels to slip up, and that is exactly what happened just a week after UNC beat VT.
Now, the door is swung a little further open for the Hokies to make a trip to Charlotte in mid-December. Games like this one are games the Hokies can not afford to lose.
Virginia Tech has felt slighted by the media all season, but after their 40-14 victory over BC and the Tar Heels' loss, people are starting to talk about the Hokies as the top contender to knock off Clemson.
In ESPN's Conference Power Rankings, the Hokies came in at number three, behind only the Tigers and Notre Dame. The Hokies are finally being seen as a legitimately good football team.
As much as this team traditionally relishes in the underdog role, one has to think they will look to prove the attention they are receiving is not just smoke. The Hokies will likely be hungry to continue to prove why they are in the position they are in, and they will take care of business against a less talented team.