Oct 12, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers running back Isaac Bennett (34) gets stopped by Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end Dadi Nicolas (90) during the second quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Kickoff at Heinz Field is only two hours away as the Virginia Tech Hokies and Pittsburgh Panthers are making their final preparations and are about to start warming up for this big ACC Coastal game in primetime on ESPN. Both teams are currently 1-1 in the ACC Coastal and are looking to avoid a second ACC loss.
Virginia Tech enters this game on a two-game winning streak with victories by an average margin of 17.5 points. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is currently struggling entering this game with the Panthers on a three-game losing streak and desperate for a victory.
So, who will win tonight’s game? Here are our predictions:
Pittsburgh on Thursday Night was the game I circled on the schedule over the summer as the toughest ACC game of the year. Pitt makes me crazy. They made me crazy when they were in Big East and they still make me crazy now that VT and Pitt are in the ACC. I’m not sure if there is a matchup issue or maybe the Hokies look past them, but it seems like this is a game that ends with me stressed out watching and the Hokies turning the ball over.
It has been this way since I first saw the two teams tangle and the number 3 ranked Hokies lost their first game of the season to the Panthers on one of the coldest nights ever in Blacksburg. The temperature will be much warmer this time around and hopefully there will be a better outcome. Virginia Tech comes into the game without its top two running backs, Marshawn Williams and Shai McKenzie, and a defense that has been uncharacteristically porous this season.
Without s solid rushing attack the offense will turn to inconsistent Michael Brewer to have a big game and guide the Hokies to victory. I see the Hokies trailing early but never letting the game out of hand before taking their first lead of the game late in the second half to edge out the Panthers in a 28-24 win.
The Virginia Tech Hokies return to action this Thursday night after a week of rest. Thursday night has been a magical night for the Hokies in previous years. The Hokies love the bright lights and primetime exposure that comes with a nationally televised game. However, this Thursday night’s opponent is an opponent that has given the Hokies fits in the years past.
The Pitt Panthers always seem to have the Hokies number. For some reason, the Hokies have a mental block when it comes to the Panthers. Last year, the Hokies got the win over the Panthers after four straight losses. Hopefully, this win was a start of a winning streak. In order to get the win, the Hokies will have to stop the conferences leading rusher and leading touchdown scorer James Conner.
Conner is an exceptional talent and the Hokies’ front seven will be tested all game. The Hokies’ offense made strides in the positive direction last week and to get the win, the offense will need to continue this trend upward. Michael Brewer and company will be up to the task as the freshmen who are left un-injured will step up and shine. The Hokie defense will get the late stop and turnover they need and seal a very close game 24-17. Just keep winning, just keep winning.
The Hokies got some help in the ACC Coastal on the bye week from the Duke Blue Devils who beat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. However, the Hokies still have work to do and it continues tonight against the Pittsburgh Panthers. This will be the Hokies’ first of two back-to-back Thursday Night games and Frank Beamer will make sure his team is ready.
However, the Hokies have had issues with the Panthers in the past and haven’t beaten the Panthers on the road since 1999 when Michael Vick and the Hokies went all the way to the Sugar Bowl which was the National Champonship that season. The Hokies might not be on that level but this team has the talent to pick up a big win against Pittsburgh.
The Panthers do not have that much talent on defense and don’t have the same playmaker on the defensive line last year like they did when they had Aaron Donald. The Virginia Tech running game won’t be great but it will be good enough to set up the play action pass and Michael Brewer will make some big throws.
Meanwhile, the Hokies’ defense will bend somewhat against James Conner but they will do a good job containing Conner and limiting the damage he does. Virginia Tech’s pass defense will have a big game against Chad Voytik and force a few turnovers. This game will not be as close as expected and the Hokies will break their losing streak at Heinz Field. The Hokies will win 24-13.