Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati

Posted on

December 31, 2018

MATT GENTRY | The Roanoke Times

Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati

  • Where: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial (34,000); Annapolis, Maryland
  • When: 12 p.m.; Monday
  • TV: ESPN
  • Records: Virginia Tech 6-6 (4-4 ACC); Cincinnati (10-2, 6-2 American Athletic Conference)
  • Last time out: Virginia Tech won 41-20 over Marshall; Cincinnati won 56-6 over ECU
  • Series: Virginia Tech leads 6-5
  • Last meeting: Virginia Tech won 33-17 in Military Bowl (12/27/14)
  • Line: Cincinnati -6

Who has the edge?

OFFENSE: Virginia Tech

Cincinnati’s 2018 schedule featured the who’s who of bad college football defenses. The Bearcats faced a Connecticut team ranked dead last in total defense as well as three other defenses (UCLA, South Florida and East Carolina) ranked among the nation’s worst. The lack of quality makes Cincinnati’s 34.9 points and 458.2 yards per game seem much less impressive. One area Virginia Tech has a clear advantage is at wide receiver thanks to a much more physically imposing group. Cincinnati tight end Josiah Deguara is the team’s only skill player taller than 6-foot. Four of quarterback Ryan Willis’ favorite targets are 6-foot-2 or taller.

DEFENSE: Cincinnati

Cincinnati closed out the regular season No. 7 in scoring defense (16.1 points allowed per game) and No. 8 in total defense (291.9 yards allowed per game). The team is strong up front with an experienced group of defensive linemen. The Bearcats started the same combination up front in all 12 regular season games. That group is led by Coretz Broughton and Marquise Copeland, a pair of all-conference defensive tackles who combined for 10 sacks and seven quarterback hurries this season. Cincinnati will miss all-conference starting linebacker Perry Young, who tore his ACL late in the season.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Virginia Tech 

Virginia Tech’s place kicking woes improved late in the season while Cincinnati comes into the game with freshman kicker Cole Smith not having made a field goal since late October. Smith has missed his last three attempts and is only 5 of 12 on the season. Cincinnati does have a great punter in James Smith — he was fourth in the country averaging 47 yards per punt — but the Bearcats special teams units are fairly pedestrian.

INTANGIBLES: Virginia Tech 

Virginia Tech spent the days leading up to the game talking about extending the program’s streak of 25-straight winning seasons. The Hokies don’t want to send out seniors like Ricky Walker with a blemish on their records. A home-like atmosphere should also give Virginia Tech a little edge.

12:00 pm
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