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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 12 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lane Stadium (65,632) -- Blacksburg, Virginia. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: UVA 3-4, VT 4-1. Away Record: UVA 1-3, VT 1-4. Neutral Record: UVA 0-0, VT 0-1. Conference Record: UVA 2-5, VT 3-4. Series Record: VT leads, 51-37-5.
GAME NOTES: The Virginia Tech Hokies will put their postseason hopes on the line when they welcome the Virginia Cavaliers to Lane Stadium for a pivotal late-season ACC clash.
Although Virginia Tech's streak of 10-win seasons will end at eight in a row, the team can still become bowl eligible for the 20th consecutive season with a win on Saturday. The Hokies snapped a three-game skid with Saturday's 30-23 overtime win at Boston College.
There will be no bowl game this year for Virginia, thanks mostly to a six-game slide in the middle of the season. The Cavaliers snapped that skid with back- to-back wins over NC State and Miami earlier this month, but they needed to win out in order to qualify for the postseason. Instead, they fell at home to North Carolina this past Thursday, 37-13.
The winner of the annual rivalry game gets the Commonwealth Cup and bragging rights in the state. Tech holds a 51-37-5 lead in the all-time series thanks to wins in eight straight meetings and 12 of the last 13 against the Cavs. Last year, the Hokies claimed a 38-0 victory over UVA in Blacksburg.
Virginia ranks in the middle of the ACC pack in most offensive categories. But putting up 33 points at NC State and then scoring 41 against Miami the following week, UVA's offense was held to just 13 points on Thursday against the Tar Heels. Trailing 20-13 early in the fourth quarter, Cavaliers tailback Kevin Parks was stuffed for a loss on 4th-and-goal from the 1. UNC got the ball back and drove 97 yards for a touchdown to go up by 14. The Cavs offense went three-and-out on its next possession, and the Tar Heels answered with another touchdown to put the game away. Virginia's offense struggled to sustain drives for much of the game, converting only 2-of-15 third down opportunities and 3-of-6 fourth downs.
Defensively, the Cavaliers have been strong between the 20s, ranking fourth in the ACC and 34th nationally in total defense (357.9 ypg). But in terms of giving up points, UVA ranks 11th in the conference and 80th in the country (30.0 ppg). Last week, the Cavs allowed only two first-half touchdown drives and found themselves in a one-score game in the final quarter. However, the Tar Heels finally broke through and scored 17 unanswered points in the final frame, turning a once tight contest into a blowout. Sophomore free safety Anthony Harris racked up a game-high 14 tackles in the loss, while LaRoy Reynolds finished with 13 stops.
With another rushing TD in last week's win at Boston College, Logan Thomas joined Michael Vick as the only Tech quarterbacks to rush for eight or more touchdowns in a season twice. Thomas also ranks fifth on the school's career passing yardage list with 5,774, although the Hokies have had their struggles this season moving the ball through the air. Still, Thomas managed to run for a touchdown and throw for 247 yards and two touchdowns in last week's win, including the game-winner to Randall Dunn in overtime. His other TD went to Marcus Davis in the third quarter. With a big day in this matchup, Davis can become the first Tech player ever to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in a season. He enters the game needing 142 yards to reach that mark.
Virginia Tech is tied for 10th nationally in tackles for loss with an average of 7.5 per tilt. The Hokies were able to get plenty of pressure at BC, racking up a season-high seven sacks on the day. Bruce Taylor and Alonzo Tweedy headlined that effort with two sacks apiece. Overall, the Hokies held BC to 296 yards from scrimmage and were particularly effective against the pass thanks to all of that pressure. When he wasn't scraping himself up off the turf, Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig completed only 13-of-30 passes for 129 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Jack Tyler paced VT's defense with 10 tackles to go along with six QB hurries, while James Gayle notched a half-dozen hurries.
Only Florida State and Florida have longer active bowl streaks than the Hokies, who figure to come out fighting for their postseason lives in this must-win situation.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Tech 27, Virginia 18
11/21 11:30:41 ET