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No. 13 Virginia Tech at No. 9 Miami: Who has the edge?

November 4, 2017 GMT

GAME BREAKDOWN

OFFENSE

EDGE: VIRGINIA TECH

Yes, the Hokies have been a bit inconsistent on offense this season. Still, they rank second in the ACC in scoring, putting up 35.4 points per game, and fifth in rushing with 180 yards per game. Redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Jackson is second in the league in passing efficiency. Freshman Sean Savoy has emerged as a second receiving threat, complementing senior Cam Phillips. It’s been a by-committee approach, yet again, but Tech has put up decent rushing totals, too. Despite losing star tailback Mark Walton to a season-ending injury, Miami is averaging 32 points per game, fifth in the ACC. Junior quarterback Malik Rosier is second in the league in passing, throwing for 295.9 yards per game. He’s thrown 17 touchdown passes and just four interceptions, the same totals as Jackson.

DEFENSE

EDGE: VIRGINIA TECH

Only No. 1 Alabama allows fewer points per game than Tech, coordinated by Bud Foster. The Hokies have been stifling opponents, giving up 11.5 points and 110.8 rushing yards per game, both the best marks in the ACC. They’ve done it without a slew of sacks or turnovers, but have limited big plays. The 13 plays of 30 yards or longer Tech has allowed this season rank third in the ACC. Miami hasn’t been quite as dominant, although the Hurricanes are well above average defensively. They’re giving up 18.7 points per game, third fewest in the conference. But Miami has struggled on third downs, allowing opposing teams to convert 39.4 percent of the time.

special teams

EDGE: VIRGINIA TECH

Senior punt returner Greg Stroman has already scored two touchdowns on runbacks this season, bringing his career total to four with the Hokies. He’s as explosive a returner as there is in the ACC. Tech has moved junior tailback Travon McMillian to kick returner, hoping to spark that unit. Freshman punter Oscar Bradburn, who is averaging 43 yards per kick, has been a pleasant surprise, and — after a shaky start to his senior year — kicker Joey Slye has become dependable again. Miami senior kicker Michael Badgley is as good as they come in the ACC, going 12 for 14 on field goal attempts. But the Hurricanes have struggled with their punt and kick coverage units, and haven’t gotten much going in the return game.

intangibles

EDGE: EVEN

In his second year at Miami, coach Mark Richt has the Hurricanes undefeated and in position for an ACC Coastal Division title. They haven’t been winning convincingly, their past four wins coming by 8 points or fewer, but they also haven’t lost. Virginia Tech’s lone defeat came at home against defending national champion Clemson. The Hurricanes have a 12-game winning streak dating to last season, the longest streak in the nation at the FBS level.

PREDICTED SCORE

VIRGINIA TECH 21, MIAMI 20