Virginia Tech-Duke: Critical ACC Matchup

Justin CocchiolaCorrespondent INovember 21, 2008

Virginia Tech keeps receiving second chances from teams inside the Coastal Division.  Prior to their Miami loss, Tech controlled their own destiny.  Now the Hokies have to hope the Tar Heels win out, while making sure they take care of business against Duke and Virginia.

Duke should not be a difficult opponent for the Hokies.  Although Tech has struggled this year, they're undefeated at home.  To make matters worse for the Blue Devils, starting quarterback Thaddeus Lewis likely will not play, and starting running back Clifford Harris is out for Saturday.

The Hokies' defense has been the catalyst of the team this year.  Bud Foster seems to always have the defense on the right page, but at times, when the defense has been on the field for a lot of the game, fatigue has been an issue.

The game this weekend shouldn't come down to this, but if it does the defense should be able to keep this injured Duke offense in check.  If Duke scores more than six points on this Hokie defense, I will be surprised.

Offensively, Virginia Tech will try to get on the right page for their upcoming game against heated rival Virginia the following Saturday.  More than likely the two quarterback system will be used.  If not, I expect Tyrod Taylor to receive most of the snaps.  Reason being, in the loss last week, it seemed the coaching staff flushed Sean Glennon out of the offense in the second half.

This, to me, was a mistake on the last drive.  It's fourth down with three yards to go and you have Taylor drop back to pass—and he gets sacked.  If you called a passing play in that situation, you should have your best passer in the game.

The offense has been heavily criticized by more than one person this season, and now it's coming from a defensive player.  I'm sure many of you have heard by now, but Purnell Sturdivant complained about Bryan Stinespring, the offensive coordinator.

This is inexcusable.  No matter how bad the offense is, you can't criticize the coaching staff if you're a player.  Everyone has their opinion, but nobody needs to hear the starting linebacker's.

I'm sure it has been dealt with, and Frank Beamer won't let this distract the team.  Darren Evans should have a field day against this Duke run defense, as they have allowed over 145 yards per game.

The Hokies will look to ride on the back of Evans, and hope the quarterbacks play well in what should be an easy win for the Hokies.  I'm going to change my score prediction for this game, since Duke's offense is hurting.

Virginia Tech 31, Duke 6.