College football’s premier Thursday night matchup for Week 10 will feature two of the biggest programs in the nation when the Virginia Tech Hokies square off with the Miami (FL) Hurricanes Nov. 1.
While neither team is in serious contention in 2012, these ACC rivals always put on excellent games for the national audience. Add in a lack of elite defensive play from either team, and this could turn into a shootout.
With the NBA starting and the NFL competing with their version of Thursday Night Football, every real college football fan must make time to catch the wild action of this inter-conference battle.
When: Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: Free Football Radio
Betting Line (via Covers)
Over/Under: OFF, Spread: Miami (+2.5)
Even giving up the 2.5 points right off the bat, the safe bet in this game is Virginia Tech. With the superior offensive unit and a better defense, the Hokies will beat the Hurricanes by three points at the very least. This is a lock.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
Caleb Farris, C, Questionable
Duke Johnson, RB, Probable
While neither of these teams is actually fighting for BCS or Top 25 glory right now, a big win over the other team would start each program in the right direction toward redemption.
Both teams sit at 4-4 on the season and have been utter disappointments.
Virginia Tech and Miami may not be fighting for national supremacy, but there is still plenty on the line in terms of conference play. Both teams are fighting for ACC Coastal honors, and the winner of this game will go a long way in making a statement to its rivals.
Virginia Tech Player to Watch: Logan Thomas, QB
The biggest star to watch at anytime during the Virginia Tech season is star QB Logan Thomas and his dual-threat abilities. As talented as Thomas has proven to be over his college career, he isn’t having a great season.
With a terrible completion percentage (53.6) and 10 interceptions to go with his 13 touchdowns, Thomas hasn’t been the game-changer the school had hoped for. Add in the junior’s lackluster rushing attack, and the Hokies should be nervous.
Even with all of Thomas’ struggles in 2012, nothing can remedy poor play from a QB better than an overmatched defense. With Miami coming into this game with the 98th-ranked defense in the nation (allowing 32.4 points per game), Virginia Tech should be able to round back into shape.
Miami Player to Watch: Duke Johnson, RB
With Virginia Tech likely putting up big points against the porous Hurricanes’ defense, Miami will need star running back Duke Johnson back in the lineup and playing as well as the team knows he can.
There are still questions about how Johnson’s foot injury will affect the RB’s play Thursday, but the consensus is that the freshman back is ready to exploit the mediocre Virginia Tech rush defense and have his breakout game for the Hurricanes.
Miami should be able to keep this game close enough to never abandon the run, so expect Johnson to get at least 15 carries for over 100 yards and a touchdown against the Hokies on the national stage.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 27, Miami 18
While many fans—including myself—want this Thursday night showcase to turn into a shootout, these two programs are too familiar with each other from conference play to have this game to become a blowout.
A conventional football game will break out, featuring a heavy dosage of run plays complemented by play-action and option passing attacks from both teams. If you are a fan of game management and timely scoring, this will be one of the best games of the week.
Virginia Tech has too much talent to be handed a loss against the Hurricanes, but Miami will keep it close enough to give the team a chance to steal the win at the end. They won’t, though.
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