The year was 2005, and the Hokies were ranked third with aspirations of a national championship. At the time, the fifth ranked Hurricanes had the same idea.
Miami came into Lane Stadium and laid down the proverbial hammer on the Hokies, who were dominated physically and mentally in the match-up. Marcus Vick turned the ball over six times in the game, and the Hokies had one of their most disappointing losses in school history, getting blown out 27-7.
This year doesn't have the same appeal, but it's still incredibly important in the outcome of the ACC. Both teams have a 3-2 record in conference, but Virginia Tech has the power to control their own destiny. If the Hokies win out, they'll play in the ACC Championship.
Virginia Tech is coming off their big win against Maryland, where they held the Terrapins to minus 12 rushing yards, and won the game 23-13.
The defense played great, but the offense finally seemed to turn the corner. The offensive line dominated Maryland's defensive front, allowing the team to rush for 273 yards. 253 of those came on the back of Darren Evans.
Evans now has over 700 rushing yards this season, and is trying to become the first Virginia Tech running back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Greg Boone also brought a new dynamic to the Hokie offense, called the "Wild Turkey."
Basically it's the wildcat formation where Boone lines up under center, and the quarterback will lineup at receiver. Boone didn't throw a pass against Maryland, but carried the ball six times for 22 yards.
This seemed to rejuvenate the offense that seemed dead and ordinary for much of the season. The players responded well, and it gave the offense a spark whenever they had the ball.
The receivers seem to be coming along nicely. Danny Coale and Jarret Boykins are making nice strides, and Dyrell Roberts has done a great job in returning kickoffs for the team.
Dustin Keys is second in the nation with the most field goals made (19), and has been the security blanket for the Hokies in the red zone.
The redzone will be a big key to winning the game for both teams. Miami has allowed their opponents in the redzone 25 times, and every single one of those times their opponent has come away with a score. More importantly, 21 of those 25 scores were touchdowns.
Virginia Tech has a hard time scoring touchdowns once they get in the red zone, but with the emergence of the offensive line they should be able to score a couple touchdowns.
Miami has a better rush defense than Maryland, but they should still have trouble stopping Evans. Miami's pass defense will be the key to their defensive success. If the Canes can stop the pass, the rush should become a lot easier to defend.
Still no word on who the quarterback will be for Virginia Tech, but Sean Glennon will likely get the start. He did a great job of managing the game last week, passing for 127 yards and a touchdown, but if Tyrod Taylor is healthy I would expect to see him on the field.
In Miami's loss to Florida State, Christian Ponder ran for 144 yards against the Canes and the team had 281 yards rushing. The Hokies would love to do this, but they must be able to pass the ball. If they want to have success through the air Glennon will be the quarterback.
Robert Marve and Jacory Harris will try and lead their offense past the stingy Virginia Tech defense. Tech's defense isn't as good as it has been in past years, but they're coming off one of their best performances of the year.
Graig Cooper will try and have a big day, but the Hokies defensive line seems to be meshing at the right time. Miami will have to have success through the air if they want to win the game.
I see the game staying close for a quarter, but I expect Virginia Tech to pull away in the second half with strong defense and an improving offense. Virginia Tech needs to play better on special teams. There have been too many mistakes being made, and when the Hokies play poorly on special teams they struggle to win games.
Virginia Tech 30, Miami 17
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