Payback is the key word for the Hokies this week.
Payback for two games lost last season, the Hokies only losses before the bowl game. Payback for two second halves where the Hokies were outscored 41-0. Payback for a lost chance at another ACC championship. And during an up-and-down season for Virginia Tech, a chance at payback, a little redemption will go a long way.
#14 Clemson (5-1, 2-1 in ACC) has one of the most explosive offenses in the country. QB Tahj Boyd leads the ACC in passing yards per game with 291. RB Andre Ellington leads the ACC in yards per game and WR DeAndre Hopkins is first in the ACC with 777 receiving yards. Not to mention sophomore Sammy Watkins, a breakout star last season, is still getting in shape after missing games due to illness and suspension. Once Watkins gets his game going there’s no telling how high the Clemson offense can soar.
If you’re reading this blog then you’re well aware of how the Hokies have struggled on both offense and defense this season. They’re a middle-of-the-pack statistical team so far and even after exploding against Duke (41 straight points after falling behind 20-0) this team understands how they have to play to stay with the Tigers.
What to Watch For
- How the hell will the Hokie D even attempt to slow down the Clemson offense? The 13th ranked offense nationally is averaging a staggering 525 yards per game and 41.3 points a game (12th nationally in that department)! By comparison the Hokie offense is 69th nationally with 398 yards per game and 58th with 30.7 points per game. So, we know where Clemson holds the biggest advantage, now how will VT adjust their D? Watch for an aggressive defense early in the game, taking chances and bringing extra guys on blitzes. The Hokies will need to create some chaos within the Clemson offense to stand any chance.
- After starting last season 8-0, the bottom fell out for the Tigers in their last six games (they would limp 2-4 finish, including the 70-33 demolition by WVU in the Orange Bowl). So, Clemson has a history of fading down the stretch in recent years, why not start the fade now? The upset minded Hokies will surely know all about the Tigers inability to close games and seasons strong and will look to find a mental advantage there. This game could get out of hand early, but if it’s close late watch for which team seems more collected.
- The comeback against Duke was both impressive and necessary for VT last week. A loss would’ve put them at 3-4 for the season and 1-2 in AAC play. The win hopefully woke up the inconsistent VT offense and breathed some life into the worse than normal D. If the Hokies were looking for a marquee game, this is it. Can they use the momentum they built in the comback last week and come out of this game winners? Or was last week an aberration and this team is destined for mediocrity? For better or worse we will know exactly who the Hokies are after this game.
Prediction: Clemson 42 – VT 35
About the Author
Written by Frank Sullivan
Frank is a graduate of Old Dominion University, sports fan, author, and founder of TheBloosh.com. He's been working with prosportsblogging.com since April 2011, and has covered the Chicago Bulls, Baltimore Ravens, Virginia Tech Hokies Football, and the Washington Wizards. Frank can be reached @franksullivan on twitter.