In a weekend filled with crazy games, one of the wildest took place at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va. Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer returned to his starting role and threw for 270 yards with three touchdowns and Travon McMillian ran for 142 yards and two scores.
But Duke’s quarterback Thomas Sirk threw for 270 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 109 yards. When Sirk ran over Luther Maddy on the goal line for a successful two-point conversion, Duke survived 45-43 in four overtimes.
For Boston College, a nightmare season of injuries continued for head coach Steve Addazio's team in their 17-14 loss to Louisville. Quarterback Jeff Smith is questionable for the game against the Hokies after suffering a concussion last Saturday and cornerback Kamrin Moore injured his leg and is lost for the season.
Both the Hokies and the Eagles are 3-5 and each team needs a win in their quest for bowl eligibility.
Virginia Tech at Boston College
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)
TV Channel: ACC Network/ESPN3
Spread: Virginia Tech -2.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Virginia Tech Offensive Line vs. BC Defensive Front
In terms of run blocking, Virginia Tech’s offensive line play has improved over the past couple of weeks. The 160 yards rushing that they had against Miami two weeks ago doesn’t look as good after seeing what Clemson did to the Hurricanes this past Saturday. But gaining 182 yards on the ground against a pretty stingy Duke defense is impressive, even if it took four overtimes to achieve. But on the whole, the line has not played well this year and Brewer was constantly harassed by the Duke defense. This week, the Hokies face the nation’s No. 1 rush defense. Good luck. Boston College is also No. 5 in sacks and Virginia Tech is No. 109 in sacks allowed. The Hokies will have a hard time controlling Harold Landry, Matt Milano, Steven Daniels, and the rest of the BC front seven.
2. Can the Virginia Tech Receivers Make Plays?
Ranking No. 7 in the country, it’s not like Boston College’s pass defense is bad. But Virginia Tech’s best chance at moving the football on Saturday is with Brewer throwing to Isaiah Ford, Cam Phillips, and Bucky Hodges. One little chink in the BC defensive armor is that they can be attacked down field. They have given five pass plays of over 40 yards with four of those going for more than 50. With Moore sidelined, the secondary’s coverage skills will take a hit. If Brewer can get time to throw, look for for him to try some deep shots to his receivers.
3. Boston College Running Game
BC’s offensive stats against Louisville were beyond atrocious and the key number was minus-10 yards rushing. The Eagles actually rank 59th in rushing offense with 179 yards per game, making last Saturday’s performance a bit of an aberration. Their passing game, whether it is with Smith or his replacement Troy Flutie, is a nightmare, so the Eagles have to have a ground game if they want to score enough points to win against anyone. Virginia Tech is giving up 178 rushing yards per game and BC hopes to get back to pounding the ball with Marcus Outlow, Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse, who is also one of the walking wounded and is listed as day-to-day after suffering a concussion against Louisville.
In games against FBS competition, Boston College has not scored more than 17 points in a game. Their defense gave up 34 to Clemson, but has not given up more than 17 in any other game. Just because Boston College is playing means this will be a low scoring, tight contest. The Eagles will shut down the Virginia Tech running game but Brewer will make some plays throwing the ball and the Hokies will score just a few points more than BC.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 13, Boston College 10
— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.