Preview: Miami at Virginia Tech
By Douglas Kroll
The ACC Coastal division title is on the line this weekend as the second place Miami Hurricanes (6-1, 3-1) hit the road to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies (8-0, 5-0). Not only is the winner likely to wind up in the inaugural ACC Championship game at the end of the season, they will also keep their National Championship hopes alive.
If Miami has had a nemesis since its return to college football glory over the last few seasons, it has been the Hokies. Virginia Tech has won the seven of the last ten games between the two teams, including the last two. In 2003, the Hokies dominated the No.2 Hurricanes 31-7, and last year won 16-10 at the Orange Bowl.
Miami enters Saturdays battle No. 6 in the BCS after they defeated North Carolina a week ago with a dominating second half from their defense. UNC only gained 18 yards in the second half, including four until the final minute of the game.
Running Back Tyrone Moss carried Miami with a career day, running for 195 yards and four touchdowns.
This weeks match up features the No.1 and No.2 defenses in the country. The Hurricanes are allowing only 221 yards per game, while the Hokies arent too far behind at 231 YPG.
When it comes to offense, the No. 3 ranked Hokies are led by quarterback Marcus Vick, the brother of Atlanta Falcons superstar Michael Vick. The Hurricanes defense will have their toughest task of the season in trying to stop the mobile QB. Vick has 14 passing and rushing touchdowns combined, and is averaging 6.2 yards when he takes off and runs with the ball. Head coach Larry Coker knows it will be a tough task to stop Vick.
I think its important to keep him from getting to the outside, Coker said. But the other thing is that he throws so well from the pocket also. He can really do it all and has those skills, but I think its really important for us to keep him contained.
The two former Big East foes will meet for the 23rd time, with Miami leading the all-time series 15-7. Hurricanes QB Kyle Wright is coming off his lowest passing totals of the year against UNC, when he threw for only 111 yards and also three interceptions. Tyrone Moss now leads the ACC in touchdowns with a total of 12 on the season, and will look to add to his average of 96.4 yards per game.
All eyes in the college football world will be on Blacksburg, Virginia on Saturday evening for a battle between the two best defenses in the land. Miami, though, has a couple of question marks when it comes to its defensive line and injuries. Bryan Pata (knee) and Eric Moncur (concussion) have been limited in practice so far this week, and Coker is hopeful they will be able to play.
Miami and Virginia Tech square off at 7:45 Saturday on ESPN.
Douglas Kroll is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.