Virginia Tech vs. Syracuse prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Hokies and Orange on Saturday in Syracuse, NY.
Virginia Tech vs. Syracuse Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 15 – 3:45 p.m. ET
Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
TV Broadcast: ESPNU
The Hokies (4-1, 2-0 ACC) are one of the biggest surprises of the new season, as first-year head coach Justin Fuente’s team is coming off of a dominant win over North Carolina in Chapel Hill last week. While the conditions were treacherous due to Hurricane Matthew, nothing can be taken away from Virginia Tech’s standout defense and sound offense in the win. It’s a team that has emerged as a threat each week in the ACC.
Meanwhile, the Orange (2-4, 0-2) are coming off of a loss to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem in which they were held to just nine points. The game was played in horrible conditions because of the hurricane, which did not make it easy for Syracuse to move the ball consistently (though the conditions were the same for both teams, of course). ‘Cuse had its four-game win streak snapped against the Demon Deacons, and Dino Babers’ squad has now lost four of its last five games.
The last time these two teams met was in 2003, when the Hokies won, 51-7. In that Big East clash, DeAngelo Hall became the first player in school history to return two punts for touchdowns in one game. He also ran for a score as the then-No. 4 Hokies rolled to a victory.
What To Know About Virginia Tech
Jerod Evans accounted for three touchdowns while the defense shut down the high-powered Tar Heels in the 34-3 road win last Saturday. Not even heavy rain could contain Evans, whose presence at the quarterback position has been huge for the revitalization of the Hokies’ offense. The scary thing for opposing defenses is that this offense is still developing and is nowhere near playing to its full capability. Throw in a defense that is paced by senior safety Chuck Clark and linemen Ken Ekanem, Woody Baron and Nigel Williams, and this is a unit that has really bounced back from last year’s subpar numbers. VT gave up 26.3 points per game in 2015, which was the highest since Bud Foster became coordinator in 1995. This season, the Hokies have allowed just 37 gains of at least 10 yards, which is the best in the nation. Florida is next at 41.
What to Know About Syracuse
In last week’s loss to the Demon Deacons, Dontae Strickland rushed 13 times for 74 yards and a score, while Eric Dungey was 16-of-25 through the air for 156 yards. But the Orange could not consistently move the ball and had some costly turnovers. This week, Dungey will look to play more like the quarterback that passed for 363 yards and two touchdowns and ran for three scores in the loss to Notre Dame. However, VT’s defense is light years ahead of ND’s unit, which will make things tough for a ‘Cuse offense that is still trying to fully grasp Babers’ scheme.
Offense: Virginia Tech. Evans is showing the country why he was the top-rated JUCO signal-caller in the 2016 class.
Defense: Virginia Tech. The Hokies rank No. 3 in the nation in yards-per-play allowed at 3.77, behind Michigan’s 3.58 and Ohio State’s 3.69.
Special Teams: Syracuse. Brisly Estime had a 74-yard return late in the first half against Notre Dame that set up a touchdown and later added a 38-yard return against the Irish.
Coaching: Virginia Tech. Fuente is enjoying a strong start to his tenure in Blacksburg.
Intangibles: Virginia Tech. The Hokies are rolling after their very impressive win over North Carolina. Fuente has them believing that they can contend for a division title.
Matchup To Watch
Dungey’s dual-threat ability vs. Virginia Tech defensive front
The athletic Dungey had five total touchdowns against the Irish, but weather and inconsistency greatly affected the offense last week. Against the Hokies on Saturday, the dual-threat will be going against a defense that is No. 2 nationally in yards-per-pass allowed at 4.65 and No. 16 in yards-per-rush allowed at 3.0—numbers that could make life difficult for Dungey and this offense.
Spread: Virginia Tech -17
Virginia Tech vs. Syracuse Prediction
The Orange may be able to spring a couple of big plays both through the air and on the run against Foster’s tenacious defense, but finishing drives and converting on third downs consistently will be a problem for the ‘Cuse offense. Evans shines again, the defense plays well against Babers’ up-tempo attack and the Hokies roll to another victory.
Virginia Tech vs. Syracuse Score Prediction: Virginia Tech 38, Syracuse 20