Coastal Wars: Miami @ Virginia Tech Preview
Two of the hottest teams in the ACC square off this Saturday as the Miami Hurricanes travel to Virginia to take on the Hokies. The Canes come into this game on cloud nine after two big wins against Florida State and Georgia Tech in the first half of their brutal four game stretch.
Virginia Tech brings a lot of motivation to the table this week after they barely survived against Nebraska last week. After a loss to Alabama and struggles against the Huskers, the Hokies have a lot to prove in their first ACC test.
On the offensive side of the ball, things look good for Miami as they hope to exploit a weakness in the Hokie pass defense. Miami quarterback Jacory Harris has sliced through defenses with surgical precision. His Heisman bid includes a resume of 656 passing yards and five passing touchdowns in two games. His 184 quarterback rating is an ACC best among starters and his 69.5 completion percentage is also a conference leading statistic.
While Miami is potent on offense is dynamic, it is anything but balanced. Nebraska and Alabama were both able to move the ball effectively against the Hokies mainly through their use of both the pass and the run. It is important that Miami runs the ball effectively to keep the safeties honest and open up passing lanes for Harris.
On the flip side, if Miami is going to attack only through the air, Virginia Tech has a great opportunity to focus the defense on disrupting Harris and the Canes pass attack.
Tyrod Taylor has shown improvement since his mediocre performance against Alabama in the opener. Entering the season, decision making was a question mark for the athletic quarterback with seven touchdowns to ten interceptions.
He has shown more maturity this year with three touchdown passes and just one interception. Taylor does not have to play outside of himself to get a win but he needs to be smart and avoid turnovers to give his team a chance.
An interesting player to watch will be Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams. Despite an aggravation to his ankle last week, he could have a breakout game this weekend.
The freshman has already rushed for 342 yards already and is starting to get more of the bulk of rushing attempts for the team. Between Taylor's scrambling ability and the speed of Williams, the Hokies could have a big day on the ground. If they are able to run the ball effectively that will slow the game down and keep Harris on the bench.
Jacory Harris will become a household name nationally with a big performance on the national stage. Taylor will play another decent game but will fail to provide the game changing performance needed for a win.
Miami 24 Virginia Tech 17
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