The Miami Hurricanes head to Blacksburg, VA with their hopes of advancing to their first ACC Championship game on the line. To accomplish their goal, the Hurricanes are likely going to have to win their last six games.
That is clearly going to be a difficult task. The game against the Hokies is arguably their most challenging one on their schedule all season. Miami leads the all-time series 20-13 but trails 7-6 in Blacksburg. The Hurricanes have won the last two meetings, including breaking a three-game losing streak in Blacksburg two years ago.
The Hokies have the nation’s seventh-best defense, but the ‘Canes have pasted the Hokies for 30 points in each of the last two meetings. The Hokies defense ranked 44th last season and 21st in 2014.
Just like last week against North Carolina, Miami and Virginia Tech enter their matchup coming off losses. Miami was favored against North Carolina, but it was clearly a matchup of two comparable teams.
Virginia Tech’s 31-17 loss at Syracuse surprised everyone around the ACC. It was by far the biggest for the Orange in the short era of Dino Babers. Babers and his Orange beat VA Tech and their first-year coach Justin Fuente.
Fuente will face a coach in his first year at his new school when Fuente and Mark Richt stand across the sidelines from each other. Last year’s win over Georgia Tech was Al Golden’s last as a Miami Head Coach.
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Taylor has missed the last four games with an upper-body injury and is uncertain to play Thursday against Miami.
Miami’s injuries and lack of depth have been a problem all season. They were able to get by against FAMU, FAU, and Appalachian State. In ACC play that’s going to be far more difficult. The Defensive Line has been decimated by injuries.
Starting Viper/End Demetrius Jackson is definitely out Thursday as are backup tackles Gerald Willis and Scott Patchan. Willis has been a force when healthy. He has 11 tackles, five tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in the four games he’s played. Patchan has yet to make his Miami debut after redshirting in 2015.
Through six games, Chad Thomas has been arguably Miami’s most disruptive player on defensive. The Junior from Legendary Booker T. Washington in Miami, has 22 tackles, eight for loss, 3.5 sacks and one pass defended. Thomas is listed as questionable with an unknown injury.
Trent Harris has been sharing the End/Viper position with Jackson. He has 10 tackles, 4.5 for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble this season. Right Tackle Sunny Ogodwu who was coming off knee surgery from last season will miss his second straight game with an ankle injury. Tyree St. Louis will make his second straight start in his place.