The Miami-FL Hurricanes and the Virginia Tech Hokies will both be gunning for a victory on Thursday when they meet at Lane Stadium.
Miami-FL Hurricanes vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
303 MIAMI -4 51
304 VIRGINIA TECH -6 51
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, October 20, 2016
Where: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Virginia
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE: Virginia Tech -6
PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 24, Miami 20
With a Thursday night kickoff looming, Miami and Virginia Tech have little time to dwell on their Saturday losses in preparing for a key ACC Coastal Division meeting in Blacksburg, Va. With two conference losses in a row, the Hurricanes find themselves in a must-win situation if they want to stay in the division race while the Hokies are looking to solidify their title hopes after a surprising 31-17 road loss to Syracuse.
Miami’s young defense has been a pleasant surprise, ranking in the top 15 in the FBS in four different statistical and holding explosive Florida State and North Carolina to 20 points apiece but the Brad Kaaya-led offense has struggled (32 points in the losses) with the line shouldering much of the blame. “In every game in America the quarterback is going to be hit,” Miami coach Mark Richt told reporters after the Hurricanes’ final drive ended when Kaaya lost a fumble after being hit from the blind side. “Every time there is a sack you can’t say ‘Oh, my, gosh these guys aren’t doing a good job.’ But at the moment of truth, at the end of the game, it was a little disappointing we couldn’t hold our own.” Meanwhile, first-year coach Justin Fuente’s defense was ranked No. 3 nationally in yards allowed per game before Syracuse totaled 561 yards, ran 100 offensive plays and scored on its final two possessions. “We’ve got to get over this one real quick,” Hokies junior quarterback Jerod Evans, who threw for a career-high 307 yards but also had a costly interception, told reporters after the game. “It definitely left a bitter taste in our mouths. I hate losing. Hate it. So, five days to go back home and get ready to play Miami.”
Miami-FL lost its last outing, a 20-13 result against Tar Heels on October 15. Miami-FL failed to cover in that game as a -6-point favorite, while the 33 combined points took the game UNDER the total.
ABOUT MIAMI (4-2, 1-2 ACC): Running backs Mark Walton (5.6 yards per carry, eight touchdowns) and Joe Yearby (6.8, six) have been slowed down in the two losses with the Hurricanes being limited to 201 yards rushing and 3.1 yards per carry. Kaaya, (10 TD passes, 228.8 yards per game) has big-play wide receivers in senior Stacy Coley (24 catches, six touchdowns) and freshman Ahmmon Richards (17 catches, 21.1 yards per reception), but neither had a first-half catch against the Tar Heels as Miami fell behind 20-3. The defense, ranked 14th in yards allowed and led by the all-freshman starting linebacker trio of Shaquille Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud, bounced back from being dominated in the first half to hold the Tar Heels scoreless in the second.
Team record: 4-2 SU,4-2 ATS
Miami-FL is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
Miami-FL is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
Miami-FL is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games on the road
Last time out for Virginia Tech, they were a 31-17 loser as they battled Orange on the road. Virginia Tech failed to cover in the match as a -23-point favorite, while 48 combined points moved the game UNDER for totals bettors.
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (4-2, 2-1): Evans (ACC-best 170.7 QB rating, 17 touchdown passes, 319 yards rushing) is the third straight quarterback Miami faces who is as dangerous as a runner as he is passer, with the previous two having success both ways against the Hurricanes. Evans is the team’s second-leading rusher behind Travon McMillian (327 yards, 4.4 yards per carry) and the receiving corps is led by wide receivers Isaiah Ford (32 catches, five TDs), Cam Phillips (20, two) and tight end Bucky Hodges (18, three). The defense, still ranked No. 7 in yards allowed despite its Carrier Dome meltdown, is anchored by defensive end Ken Ekanem (four sacks), linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka (57 tackles) and cornerback Greg Stroman (three interceptions), who is also a dangerous kick and punt return threat.
Team record: 4-2 SU,3-3 ATS
Virginia Tech is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games
The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Virginia Tech’s last 15 games
Virginia Tech is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home