Virginia Tech came into the Duke game last year with one of the worst offenses in college football. The Hokies still have plenty of room for improvement but have shown huge strides in the last couple of weeks on both sides of the ball.
It all begins with Ryan Williams. There was a great article on Ryan Williams in the Roanoke Times this week talking about his road to college football, and how he dominated in high school.
Williams has a chance to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, running backs in Virginia Tech history, and that's saying a lot when you talk about the "Running Back U."
If the coaching staff sticks with Williams this week for more than the first half, then I'm expecting the freshman, who's the nation's fifth leading rusher and tied for the most rushing touchdowns in the nation, to have well over 200 yards on the ground against Duke.
The Blue Devils have a decent front seven, but it's not as good as Miami, Nebraska, or Alabama's. Williams had over 100 yards on the ground against the Hurricanes and the Cornhuskers, and he only received 13 carries against the Crimson Tide but still managed 72 yards on the ground against one of the nation's top rush defenses in first collegiate start.
David Wilson and Josh Oglesby will likely get some action as well. Tyrod Taylor only threw the ball nine times in the Hokies win against Miami last week and I'm not expecting a lot of passes to enter the air this week.
Tech simply won't need to throw the ball. If they do, Tech will strike the air early, but then switch to the ground-and-pound attack that seems to work so well for them.
Taylor has been playing much better this year, already doubling his passing touchdown total from last year with four. More importantly he's not turning the ball over. Taylor has only one interception on the year, and the Hokies have four turnovers as a team.
When you think about who they've played this year that's pretty impressive, and ironically enough Taylor threw his lone interception against Marshall. Last year, Tech turned the ball over five times against the Blue Devils, and if Duke had any offense at all in the game they likely would have pulled the upset in Blacksburg.
I'm not expecting a similar performance this year, as Duke is struggling with tough opponents and the Hokies have already beaten two top 20 teams. If this game is close late in the first half, I will be shocked.
Look for Tech to have well over 300 yards on the ground in this one, and also keep an eye on the single game rushing record, which stands at 253 yards set by Darren Evans last year. Williams is definitely capable of putting up this figure.
The Hokies will rout the Blue Devils in Durham.
Virginia Tech 52, Duke 3