Virginia Tech vs. Miami: Complete Game Preview
The Virginia Tech Hokies (4-4, 2-2 ACC) visit the Miami Hurricanes (4-4, 3-2 ACC) in very important match-up between coastal division teams. The Hurricanes are losers of three straight games while the Hokies have lost three out of the last four.
Both teams need the win to get closer to representing the coastal division in the ACC Championship.
Here is the complete game preview of Virginia Tech vs. Miami.
Game Day Information
Who: Virginia Tech vs. Miami
When: Thursday, 7:30 PM ET
Where: Miami Gardens, Fla.
Stadium: Sun Life Stadium (75,540)
Radio: WQAM 560 AM, WELE 1380 AM
Internet Stream: Canes All Access
Depth Chart for Miami
Position: Starter, Backup (as of Oct. 27, 2012)
QB: Stephen Morris, Ryan Williams
FB: Maurice Hagens, Sean Harvey
RB: Mike James, Duke Johnson
TE: Clive Walford, Dyron Dye, Asante Cleveland
WR: Phillip Dorsett, Kendal Thompkins or Robert Lockhart Jr.
WR: Allen Hurns, Davon Johnson
WR: Rashawn Scott, Herb Waters
LT: Malcolm Bunche, Hunter Wells
LG: Jon Feliciano, Jeremy Lewis
C: Shane McDermott, Jared Wheeler
RG: Brandon Linder, Daniel Isidora
RT: Seantrel Henderson or Ereck Flowers
DE: Anthony Chickillo, Jalen Grimble or Jelani Hamilton
DT: Earl Moore, Darius Smith or Dequan Ivery
DT: Olsen Pierre, Darius Luther Robinson or Corey King
DE: Shayon Green, Tyriq McCord or Ricardo Williams
OLB: Eddie Johnson, Thurston Armbrister, Tyrone Cornelius
MLB: Jimmy Gaines, Raphael Kirby or Gionni Paul
OLB: Denzel Perryman, Thurston Armbrister, Tyrone Cornelius
CB: Ladarius Gunter, Tracy Howard or Thomas Finnie
CB: Brandon McGee, Antonio Crawford
S: Kacy Rodgers III, Vaughn Telemaque or Rayshawn Jenkins
S: Deon Bush, A.J. Highsmith
P: Dalton Botts, Jake Wieclaw
FG: Jake Wieclaw, Matt Goudis
KO: Jake Wieclaw, Matt Goudis
H: Dalton Botts, Ryan Williams
LS: Paul Kelly, Jimmy Gaines
SS: Paul Kelly, Brandon Linder
PR: Phillip Dorsett, Duke Johnson
KR: Phillip Dorsett, Duke Johnson
Out for the Season: Ramon Buchanan (lower extremity), Malcolm Lewis (lower extremity), Sean McNally (lower extremity), Eduardo Clements (undisclosed injury)
Depth Chart for Virginia Tech
Position: Starter, Backup (as of Oct. 28, 2012)
QB: Logan Thomas, Mark Leal, Trey Gresh
FB: Joey Phillips, Martin Scales,Greg Gadell
RB: J.C. Coleman, Michael Holmes/Tony Gregory
Split End: Marcus Davis/Corey Fuller, Christian Reeves
TE: Ryan Malleck/Randall Dunn, Eric Martin, George George
Flanker: Dyrell Roberts/Demitri Knowles, Kevin Asante, Willie Byrn
LT: Nick Becton, Mark Shuman
LG: David Wang, Matt Arkema
C: Michael Via/Caleb Farris, Matt Arkema
RG: Brent Benedict, Michael Via/Laurence Gibson
RT: Vinston Painter, Darian Fisher
DE: J.R. Collins/Corey Marshall, Matt Roth
DT: Derrick Hopkins, Kris Harley/Zack McCray
DT: Luther Maddy/Antoine Hopkins
DE: James Gayle, Tyrel Wilson, Dadi Nicolas
OLB: Ronny Vandyke, Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, Alonzo Tweedy
LB: Jack Tyler, Chase Williams
LB: Bruce Taylor, Tariq Edwards, Josh Trimble
CB: Kyle Fuller, Donaldven Manning
Rover: Kyshoen Jarrett, Michael Cole
FS: Detrick Bonner, Desmond Frye
CB: Antone Exum, Donovan Riley
P: A.J. Hughes, Hunter Windmuller, Michael Branthover
FG: Cody Journell, Brooks Abbott
KO: Brooks Abbott, Michael Branthover, Ethan Keyserling
H: Trey Gresh, Mark Leal
LS: Joe St. Germain, Eddie D'Antuono
SS: Joe St. Germain, Eddie D'Antuono
PR: Michael Holmes/Kyshoen Jarrett
KR: Demitri Knowles/J.C. Coleman, Dyrell Roberts/Kevin Asante, Tony Gregory
Out for the Season: DJ Coles, Nick Acree
What Happened to the Hurricanes Last Week?
Last weekend the Miami Hurricanes finally got a bye week after starting the season 4-4 (3-2 ACC). It couldn't have come at a better time, as injuries have started to pile up at Miami.
Stephen Morris is still recovering from an ankle sprain he received in the North Carolina game, while Duke Johnson hurt his foot during the FSU game.
Both players are currently practicing and are expected to play this Thursday.
The last game the Hurricanes played was a 33-20 loss to Florida State on Oct. 20. Miami took a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter before getting outscored 33-10 in the final three.
Morris got the starting nod even though it looked as though he wasn't ready to play due to his injured ankle. His passes fell flat and he wasn't mobile at all.
I honestly believe the Hurricanes should have started backup quarterback Ryan Williams, who was the starting quarterback in practice the entire week leading up to the Seminole game.
What Happened to the Hokies Last Week?
The Virginia Tech Hokies are also coming off a bye week ,but the last game the Hokies played was a 38-17 loss to the Clemson Tigers on Oct. 20.
Quarterback Logan Thomas threw for a touchdown and ran for another, but his two interceptions (one returned for a 74-yard touchdown) hurt any chance of a Hokie upset. Thomas finished the day throwing for 207 yards and running for another 99.
Wide receiver Marcus Davis also threw an interception on a trick play as the Hokies turned the ball over a total of four times.
The Hokies out-gained the Tigers 406-295 in total offensive yards, but the turnovers were too much to overcome.
What It Means for Both Teams
Much like any ACC game, this one will mean a lot for both teams, as both teams are in the same coastal division in the ACC.
Miami is tied with Duke for the coastal division lead with 3-2 records while Virginia Tech is right behind at 2-2.
If the Hurricanes beat the Hokies, they will take sole possession of first place in the coastal division and control their own destiny. If the Hurricanes lose, the chances of them making it to the ACC championship will become very slim, as Virgina Tech will own the tie-breaker.
After this game, the Hurricanes have just two more ACC games remaining (Duke and Virginia) while Virginia Tech has three (Virginia, Florida State, and Boston College).
*Note: North Carolina is not eligible to play in any bowl game this season, including the ACC Championship.
Key Player for the Hurricanes: Stephen Morris, QB
During the first five games of the season the Miami Hurricanes offense was on fire, averaging 36 points per game. The last three have been the exact opposite, as the Hurricanes are only scoring 12 points per game.
The player that the offense needs to get rolling again is quarterback Stephen Morris.
During the Hurricanes' 4-1 start, Morris averaged 327 passing yards per game, nine touchdowns and just four interceptions. During the Hurricanes three-game losing streak he has averaged just 193 passing yards per game, one touchdown and three interceptions.
In order for the Hurricanes to win another ball game this season, Morris needs to find that groove he showcased in the first five weeks of the season.
Morris is a vital part to this team and if his bum ankle has improved over the bye week, Thursday's game would be a perfect opportunity to showcase that huge arm we saw earlier this year.
Key Player for the Hokies: Logan Thomas, QB
In Virginia Tech's 38-35 win over Miami last year, quarterback Logan Thomas single-handedly destroyed the Hurricanes with five total touchdowns. He completed 23 of 25 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for another two scores, including the game-winner with just 59 seconds left to play.
The Hokies, much like the Hurricanes, are struggling on both sides of the ball this season but without Thomas, Virginia Tech probably wouldn't win another game this season.
In Virginia Tech's four losses, Thomas has thrown eight of his 10 interceptions. In the four wins, Thomas has thrown just two.
In a game where both defenses are struggling, Thomas will need to keep the ball out of the Hurricanes' hands, and if he can do that, the Hokies have a real good shot of winning.
The Hurricanes Will Win If...
The Hurricanes will win this game if they can find some consistency on offense. Over the last three games the offense has been horrible, scoring just 12 points per game.
First, the coaching staff needs to find ways to get the ground game going. Virginia Tech's rush defense is giving up 167 rushing yards per game, and if either Mike James or Duke Johnson can keep the chains moving, it will allow the passing game to open up.
Stephen Morris will be the starting quarterback for the Hurricanes and will need to play much better than he has been of late. I know he is nursing an injury, but he has had over a week to rest and should be around 90 percent.
If the Hurricanes can run and pass like I know they can, Miami could win this game.
The Hokies Will Win If....
The Hokies will beat Miami if Logan Thomas can stay away from the turnovers. As explained in an earlier slide, Thomas has struggled in four games, all resulting in losses.
If Thomas can control the game like he did last year against Miami, there is no doubt Virginia Tech wins this game.
Although the defense isn't as good as they have been in the past, there are still plenty of playmakers on that side of the ball and they could easily shut down a struggling Hurricane offense.
So far this season I have predicted all Miami Hurricanes games correctly, but this one will be the hardest one yet. Last week both teams entered the bye week at just 4-4 and haven't improved much on the season.
There are so many questions on the Hurricanes squad that have not yet been answered. The defense, although improving over the last couple weeks, is still questionable and is now playing against a very good quarterback in Logan Thomas.
The offense started the season on a tear but have only managed to score 12 points per game over the last three contests.
Virginia Tech, on the other hand, has been even more disappointing. The Hokies returned nine players on defense that finished the season ranked No. 10 in total defense last year—they are currently ranked No. 49.
This will be the first time since 2003 that the Hokies will fail to win 10 games in a season.
So who wins this game?
Both teams aren't that good, but Miami is at home on a Thursday night. Why does that make a difference?
The Hurricanes are 15-3 in ESPN Thursday night games—make that 16-3.
Final prediction: Miami 38, Virginia Tech 32