Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat, Staff Writer
The University of Miami has yet to play a complete game all season in all three phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams, and certainly hasn't played more than a good half offensively all season. This is cause for concern.
Last week, the 'Canes went through a major scare trailing a mediocre North Carolina team 16-7 at the half committing three turnovers and just looking flat out awful at times mainly because quarterback Kyle Wright simply has not had the improvement one might had expected since the Florida State opener. Honestly, Drew Weatherford has progressed more since that game.
If you had told that to someone following that game, one might have recommended you be Baker Acted because you would be border line insane.
But because it was North Carolina, the 'Canes were able to come back in the second half to win the game convincingly.
Virginia Tech is not North Carolina. If Miami plays a half like it did against UNC, Va. Tech will be up 35 points and the game will be over.
So what does Miami have to do to win?
Run, run run. Tyrone Moss has to follow up his career day against UNC with another huge outing. When I say huge, I mean he has to break 100 yards for the 'Canes to have a shot to win the game.
Wright can't continuously turn the ball over like he did last weekend this Saturday night against Va. Tech. Those floating ducks he threw against UNC will end up in points for Va. Tech.
The wide receivers have to show up. Ryan Moore, Sinorice Moss, Darnell Jenkins, Lance Leggett. Where are you? Your team needs you to come up with some big plays to win. You have to get open and Wright has to get you the ball, but when he does you have to catch it.
And the defense has to not only stop Va. Tech, but CREATE. That's the key word. Until Javon Nanton stripped UNC's Matt Baker at the four-yard line in the third quarter to give the 'Canes a four-yard touchdown a play later, the 'Canes defense hadn?t created a turnover of worth to recent recollection, i.e. the 2005 season.
It has made plays, like forcing punts as it obvious by it being ranked the nation's #1 defense yardage wise and #3 defense points wise, but not BIG PLAYS. That was a big play. That's what the defense needs to do against Va. Tech. They need to hit, hit and hit Marcus Vick some more all game long. Make him run. The only way to affect an accurate passer like Vick is to put him on his tail constantly.
But you can?t do it by blitzing all game because that will give him alleys to run through if the blitz gets picked up. And boom, it's a huge play.
The front four has to crash the pocket and make Vick run for his life and lead him right into the spy on the Hurricanes defense that has his eyes on Vick all game.
There are a lot of ifs obviously. If they play a full game, the 'Canes will win. There's no doubt in my mind about that. They have the talent.
But they won't and a loss will result. Jon Peattie scares the juice out of me. He's been extremely inconsistent this year so if it comes down to a field goal, I won?t be a very confident camper. I've wanted to see more of Kirby Freeman all year, so Wright doesn't exactly give me the belief that he will be able to succeed in a psychopathic setting like Blacksburg. FSU fans are loud. Va. Tech fans are absolute nut jobs and playing in Lane Stadium at night is like going in to an Asylum.
Moss won't crack 100. He'll be lucky to crack 50 against Tech's defense. Those gaping holes he saw against UNC won't be there against Tech. That will leave the game up to Wright and I simply don?t think he's at the point where he can WIN Miami a game, let alone one as big as this. Va. Tech?s defensive front seven will flat out dominate this game and Wright will be the reason the 'Canes lose this one.
UM's defense will play even, but won't create the big turnover and make a game changing play. They'll hold Tech to 10 to 14 points, but Miami?s offense will be responsible for gift wrapping another 14 to the Tech defense through interceptions or fumbles by Wright.
And let's be quite frank, Va. Tech has out coached Miami for most of the past 10 years because Miami has had more talent almost every year except for the year Michael Vick led the Hokies to the Sugar Bowl. Even when Miami went 5-6 in 1997, Edgerrin James was in the 'Canes backfield and the 'Canes were a two-point conversion from tying the game in Blacksburg.
It sickens me to say it, let alone think it, but I don't think Miami can win this game. I hope I am wrong, believe me I do. But you don't just flip a switch and play perfectly after you've played miserably most of the season, particularly on offense.
Rudy's Prediction - Virginia Tech 27, Miami 14
David Hamilton, Staff Writer
By now, every college football fan knows that Miami and Virginia Tech have the nation's top two defenses, but the game will be decided by how well each team's offense adjusts to their opponents aggresive defensive schemes.
Marcus Vick is Michael's younger brother, although the younger sibling looks to pass first and run second, if Miami blitzes him, he'll roll out, take it down the sideline, and rack up a tremendous amount of yards.
If Miami is to stop him, or any of VTech's three running backs from breaking outside, the Hurricanes defensive ends and cornerbacks will have to contain the Hokies by pinching inside. Although they will do a good job of this, VTech will still be effective running the ball, and in turn, will eat up a lot the clock.
Tyrone Moss is still sore from last week's performance against UNC, but who can blame him. The bowling-ball-of-a-running-back was dragging two or three defenders nearly everytime he touched the ball. The Hurricanes will need a similar performance out of him this week, and he will not let his team down. With Moss supplying an effective running game, the Canes will have more opportunities to throw the ball.
Kyle Wright will complete at least 60 percent of his passes, but very few will be deep, down-the-field completions.
Miami comes into this one with two things on their minds: last year and the year before's losses against the Hokies. Blacksburg is still a hard place to play, and VTech is one hell of a team this year... Sadly Canes fans, Miami comes up just a little bit short.
D-Ham's Prediction - Virginia Tech 31, Miami 24
Christopher Stock, Senior Writer & Assistant Editor
What an outstanding game to be a part of. There are two top five teams going at it with the nation's top two defenses. Hype, stars, great crowd, and national exposure, it is all there.
The quarterbacks are coming off of completely different performances. Kyle Wright had a three interception day against North Carolina and Marcus Vick is coming off a 22-for-28 day in which he passed for 280 yards against Boston College.
Tyrone Moss rushed for 195 yards last week prompting Art Kehoe to state it was one of the best examples of burst through the hole in his 27 years of being at Miami. You have to like that if you are a 'Canes fan.
The running game will be a key for the 'Canes who have rushed for 167 yards on 60 carries in the last two games against Virginia Tech. The Hokies come into the game allowing just 92 yards a game.
The Miami offense has not showed enough signs of execution and dominance throughout the 2005 season to show they are capable of beating the nation's top defense.
Vick provides the Miami defense with a different look because of his running ability mixed in with accurate passing (69 percent passer). The Hurricanes, despite a strong statistical season, have not created many opportunities on defense and at times have gave up big plays due to poor tackling.
The game is in Blacksburg where the Hokies have a 17-2 record in their last 19 games.
The Hokies have also won the last two games between the two schools blowing out the 'Canes in 2003 and beating them at the Orange Bowl with the ACC title on the line in the final regular season game of the 2004 season.
Barring a colapse by Virginia Tech, I don't see Miami winning this game.
Stock's Prediction - Virginia Tech 24, Miami 13
Mike Bakas, Recruiting Editor
Two top five teams. Arch rivals. It doesn't get much better than this. The University of Miami is on some uncommon territory -- 6 point underdogs. After dominating college football during the first part of this decade, the Canes have slipped the last couple seasons. A win here would go a long way in making a statement for coming back to the top of the college football world. Sure, FSU beat this team earlier in the year but this is a different team. It seems to have found its identity. The defense is playing lights out without a superstar.
The offense is getting better. Tyrone Moss is coming off a career day. The O-Line is protecting Kyle Wright better. If the offense can limit turnovers and the special teams remains just that -- special (unlike the FSU game), the Canes should be in good shape. Nobody in the country is better coached than Virginia Tech but the Hurricanes have better players in this game. It'll be a dogfight but I think the Canes make a huge statement on Saturday night.
Bakas Prediction - Miami 20, Virginia Tech 17
Staff Predictions vs Virginia Tech
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