#9 Miami Hurricanes (8-2, 5-2) vs. #11 Virginia Tech Hokies (9-2, 6-1) Orange Bowl – Miami, Florida December 4 – 1:00 PM Eastern on ABC
The ACC championship is on the line, as the Miami Hurricanes and Virginia Tech Hokies face off in the Orange Bowl. The winner will win the conference championship and receive an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game. The game features the ACC's two newest teams and two teams that are very familiar with each other, having played annually since 1992 in the Big East Conference.
Virginia Tech is 9-2 after defeating Virginia 24-10 last Saturday. The Hokies lost two of their first four games (to Southern Cal and North Carolina State), but have won seven consecutive games. Under head coach Frank Beamer, the Hokies have played in bowl games the last 11 seasons.
The Hurricanes and Hokies have played 21 times, with Miami holding a 15-6 lead in the series. However, Virginia Tech has won six of the last nine games including last year 31-7 in Blacksburg.
Offense Defense QB Brock Berlin LE Bryan Pata RB Frank Gore LT Baraka Atkins FB Quadtrine Hill RT Orien Harris TE Kevin Everett RE Thomas Carroll WR Roscoe Parrish SLB Jon Beason WR Lance Leggett MLB Leon Williams LT Rashad Butler WLB Romeo Davis LG Tony Tella CB Antrel Rolle C Joel Rodriguez CB Kelly Jennings RG Derrick Morse FS Anthony Reddick RT Chris Myers SS Greg Threat K Jon Peattie P Brian Monroe KEY INJURIES LB Tavares Gooden Shoulder Probable LB Roger McIntosh Shoulder Probable DT Santonio Thomas Knee Questionable TE Greg Olsen Wrist Doubtful FB Kyle Cobia Shoulder Out OL Eric Winston ACL Out CB Glenn Sharpe Knee Out NOTABLE PLAYERS Miami: 34.3 ppg – 17.8 pag QB #7 Brock Berlin 2370 yards 57% 21 TD 4 Int RB #3 Frank Gore 819 yards 5.2 avg 8 TD WR #1 Roscoe Parrish 36 receptions 615 yards 8 TD WR #83 Sinorice Moss 18 receptions 339 yards 3 TD CB #6 Antrel Rolle 61 tackles, 1 interception SS #5 Greg Threat 122 tackles, 3 interceptions PK #13 Jon Peattie 12-21 FG, 41-41 XP Virginia Tech: 33.7 ppg – 12.8 pag QB #3 Bryan Randall 1817 yards 55% 17 TD 7 Int RB #20 Mike Imoh 708 yards 4.8 avg 6 TD WR #19 Josh Hyman 22 receptions 420 yards 5 TD WR #4 Eddie Royal 23 receptions 389 yards 2 TD DE #55 Darryl Tapp 53 tackles, 7.5 sacks CB #2 Jimmy Williams 45 tackles, 4 interceptions PK #46 Brandon Pace 20-25 FG, 41-41 XPNOTABLE TEAM STATISTICS
Miami – 27h in Pass Offense (250.2)
Virginia Tech – 5th in Pass Defense (150.7)
Miami – 8th in Pass Defense (166.7)
Virginia Tech – 89th in Pass Offense (180.7)
When Miami has the ball…
QB Brock Berlin vs. DE Darryl Tapp
Berlin (6-1, 215) is Miami's candidate for ACC Player of the Year and a strong performance Saturday could wrap up that award. He has been on fire during ACC competition throwing for 17 touchdowns and two interceptions in seven games. He threw for a career-high 361 yards last game and has not thrown an interception in four games. Tapp (6-1, 265) is one of the top pass rushers in the ACC and needs to lead the Hokies defensive line against Miami. He will need to provide pressure on Berlin so he does not have time to throw and make easy reads downfield.
When Virginia Tech has the ball…
QB Bryan Randall vs. CB Antrel Rolle
Randall (6-0, 230) is also a strong candidate for ACC Player of the Year looking to have a solid ending to a great senior season. They lost a number of quality players last year and many people did not expect the Hokies to be playing for the ACC title on the last week of the season. He has shown the ability to run and could give the Hurricanes troubles if he can run free. Rolle (6-1, 200) is the leader of the defense for Miami and has been a good tackler this season. Very few corners in the country are as physical as Rolle and he will have to pay close attention to Randall in the game.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON
Miami CB Devin Hester - Hester is currently 3rd in the nation in punt returns (19.8) and would be 11th in kickoff returns (26.8) if he had enough attempts. Primarily a cornerback, he will be used on offense occasionally. This season he has 40 yards rushing and 25 yards receiving to go along with three interceptions.
Virginia Tech CB Eric Green – Last year Green returned an interception for a touchdown to stretch the Hokie lead to 17-0 in the third quarter and never looked back. The Clewiston native has seven career interceptions.
COKER'S FINAL WORD
"It is time to play now. This week is about over and guys are ready and anxious to play. It should be a great atmosphere Saturday between two good football teams."
PLAYER QUOTE OF THE WEEK
OL Chris Myers on the importance of the game:
"It's a do-or-die for us. BCS bowl or bust."
Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org