Why You Need To Care
In the ACC’s version of flipping the script, Virginia Tech has a chance to play spoiler when Duke visits Lane Stadium this weekend. While the Hokies are a game under .500 and buried in sixth place in the Coastal Division, the 23rd-ranked Blue Devils are one of three teams in the division without a conference loss. Duke took a three-game winning streak into the bye week, which it used to prep for a defining four-game stretch versus Va Tech, Miami, North Carolina and Pitt.
Why Duke Will Win
The Blue Devils are a poor-man’s Utah this fall, winning with solid D and special teams, and just enough from the offense. Even with the return to the lineup of QB Michael Brewer, the Hokies will have a rough time moving the ball on Duke. The Devils yield 9.3 points per game, and DBs Jeremy Cash, Breon Borders and Deondre Singleton have been the sparkplugs of a secondary that’s No. 2 nationally in pass efficiency defense.
Why Virginia Tech Will Win
The Blue Devils lost to Northwestern—and darn near fell to BC—because the offense lacks consistency from the backfield. Life for Duke QB Thomas Sirk won’t get any easier against the Hokie defense. The Va Tech D has been a disappointment this season, sure, but there’s ample talent to keep the Devils stuck in neutral. The Hokies remain quick off the snap and talented on the back end with the likes of corners Brandon Facyson and Chuck Clark.
Player Who Matters
Considering the talent up front, the inconsistent Hokie pass rush has been a head-scratcher this fall. And now Tech must face the Blue Devils, who are perennially underrated in the trenches. C Matt Skura and LG Lucas Patrick are building All-ACC resumes in 2015, but cover must be given to young LT Gabe Brandner, who struggled versus better competition in the first half.
What’s Going To Happen?
Defense, Virginia Tech’s anticipated calling card this year, has let the team down. And, predictably, the offense has not been able to pick up the slack. Duke is rested, better coached and poised to do the little things, like field position, turnovers and special teams, to extend its winning streak to four. Points will come at a premium, but the Devils will wind up with a few more of them on Saturday than the fading Hokies.
Duke vs. Virginia Tech Prediction
Prediction: Duke 23, Virginia Tech 20
Line: Virginia Tech -2.5, o/u: 43.5