It is going to be an emotional afternoon Saturday at Lane Stadium for the Virginia Tech football team. For the final time in their careers, the Hokies’ seniors are going to take the field in Blacksburg in what is a huge game for them.
Not only is it the last time they play at Lane Stadium, but it is also a huge game in terms of reaching the big realistic goal that Brent Pry and his team are seeking. Following a 48-22 win at Boston College last weekend, Virginia Tech is 5-5 and needs to win one of their final two games to become bowl-eligible. The quest for win No. 6 begins against a very tough 7-3 North Carolina State squad.
Virginia Tech would like to send their seniors out with a win
If there is one thing that the Hokies are going to find out it is that the Wolfpack are not like the three previous ACC teams to come to Blacksburg this season. Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and Syracuse all played at Lane Stadium and all three were dominated by Pry’s team. NC State is not going to let that happen.
The Wolfpack are a stingy defense, led by linebacker Peyton Wilson, and are coming off a game where they allowed just six points to Wake Forest. It is going to be essential that Virginia Tech tries to establish their running game early with Bhayshul Tuten and quarterback Kyron Drones while trying to move the ball in the passing game, something that has been getting better as the season has gone along under Drones.
Defensively, NC State quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who the Hokies are familiar with from his time at Virginia, poses a threat running the ball, something that has caused Virginia Tech problems this season. Last week, BC quarterback Thomas Castellanos was contained by Chris Marve’s defense and they will have to do that with Armstrong. Limiting the big plays is a must for the defense as they can’t afford to dig a hole for the offense to try and rally against a very good, talented, and quick defense.
This game could very well come down to special teams, where placekicker John Love and punter Peter Moore have been very good this season for the Hokies. In the kick return game, Jaylin Lane returned a punt for a touchdown last week at Boston College, but it was brought back because of a penalty. Tucker Holloway has made some big plays in the punt return game this season as well.
Virginia Tech needs a win badly
NC State is already bowl-eligible and they are playing to improve their destination with more wins. Virginia Tech needs a win to get to bowl-eligibility because if they don’t, their final chance will be next weekend at Virginia against a Cavaliers team that is playing teams very tough this season and one of their two wins this season was at North Carolina.
The ideal weekend for the Hokies would be to send the seniors off with a win in their final game at Lane Stadium and collect win No. 6, taking the pressure off of needing to go to Charlottesville and win Thanksgiving Weekend. To beat the Wolfpack, it’s going to take the Hokies to play mistake-free football and take advantage of scoring opportunities by scoring touchdowns, not field goals.