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The VPI Hokie Preview: Coastal Championship Part VII

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VPI's offensive production based on starting field position.
VPI's offensive production based on starting field position.
The first and most obvious note about the Hokies is that Tyrod Taylor is gone. The most efficient offense in the ACC has been stymied as of late. Last week, Duke held a team to 14 points for the first time in 2 years. Yes, that would be the Hokies. Inconsistency is the name of the game for the Hokie offense. From 2009-2010, the Hokie offense only turned the ball over or punted on 50% of their drives. In 2011, that number has climbed to 58%. The decline in scoring opportunities per drive has led to a 16% drop in points scored per drive.

Logan Thomas, Tyrod's heir, is not terribly inefficient. He's actually in the top quarter of ACC passers. The issue has been moreso related to his streaky inaugural season. He started out flat with a 4:5 TD:INT ratio in his first five starts against arguably the weakest part of his schedule. Then, he blew up against Miami, Wake, and BC throwing for 6 TD's and no picks but then dropped another egg against Duke finishing with a 1:2 TD:INT ratio. Depending on the Logan Thomas that shows up, we'll know whether or not the Hokies drop another Clemson-esque performance or a Miami-esque performance. Despite the opinion that you should never put too much on a QB's shoulders, Logan has easily been the hinge for this offense swinging back and forth at a moment's notice (Sean Glennon 2.0, anyone?).

The Hokie MO this season has pretty much been: "run the ball 3 times, pass the ball 2 times." There hasn't been a game in 2011 where the Hokies have run the ball less than 53% of the playcalls. And unlike most teams that like to run the ball and get out of Dodge when playing a turd, the Hokies leaned more on the pass against their patsies (Arkansas State, Marshall, and BC) than they did against any other opponents. I foresee a healthy dose of the Yellow Jacket killer David Wilson.

Wilson is the junior running back that broke the back of Tech in 2010 with a 90 yard kickoff return for a touchdown with only 2 minutes left in regulation. Wilson is leading the ACC with 1,185 yards in 2011 and 132 yards per game. Outside of Georgia Tech A-backs, Wilson is leading all ACC runningbacks with 6.34 yards per carry. He has yet to rush for less than 85 yards in a game in 2011 and has a 6-game string of 120+ yard games going.

Defensively, the Hokies are interesting. We can talk all day about their accolades and all that jibberish but every good Tech fan knows defensive stats don't mean crap against Georgia Tech. Rushing stats get blown up and scoring stats are out the window. Either a team is prepared to deal with us or they aren't. Typically, VPI has fallen in the latter category. Since 2008, the Hokies have given up 15.5 points per non-GT ACC match up. Against Tech in the same span, the Hokies have given up 22.0 points per game (a whole touchdown more). Against all other ACC opponents, Tech averages 5.3 yards per carry yet manages 5.6 yards per carry against the vaunted VPI defense.

I wanna stick with my guns so I'm going to say Tech will pick up 27 points (7 over the Hokie's season ACC average) to the Hokies 14. I don't see the Hokies hanging around with Tech. I like Tech at home at night against the Hokie sloppy O. David Wilson will keep the Hokies in the game but like Sammy Watkins isn't enough to carry the whole team effort. I'm predicting a fourth quarter snoozefest.