Game Predictions: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Syracuse Orange


Game Predictions: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Syracuse Orange

The Virginia Tech Hokies (3-3, 1 -1 ACC) and Syracuse Orange (3-4, 0-3 ACC) will face off on Saturday afternoon in a cross divisional showdown. The game will be played inside Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia, beginning at 12:30PM EST with the broadcast on RSN.

Ahead of the contest, VTSCOOP’s CZYHokie, Doug Bowman, Evan Watkins and Matej Sis put together their predictions for the game.

CZYHokie:

A midday game in Blacksburg with fall weather is still one of my favorite things. This week we will see The Hokies take on the Orange of Syracuse in what may end up being an uneventful game.

The Hokies continue to struggle on Offense and I do think that changes this week. The Hokies will try to stop Syracuse from running the ball this week and make them more one dimensional, but that makes this game even more intriguing.

This is a winnable game for for both teams, but the Hokies seem to find a way to lose these games the last few years. On paper the Hokies should probably win this game, but 'Cuse will not be a pushover this week.

We will have great weather Saturday so that will not impact the game, but here is what I see happening. Tucker for Syracuse is the real deal, so the Hokies will have to stop him to win this game. This one rests on the Defenses shoulders for that reason. With that said, I’m still not confident that the Offense can put enough together to win this one even if the Hokies D slows Syracuse down on Offense.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 14, Syracuse 17

Doug Bowman:

As I said in my game preview, I’m not confident. Syracuse’s QB/RB combo running game feels like exactly the kind of offense VT doesn’t need to face right now. They can control this game with Tucker and Shrader and really make things difficult for Tech’s defense over four quarters. And their defense is young, but pretty darn athletic. I think this is a slow moving, ugly affair, with a few starts and stops along the way. But it’s the team that can run the ball the best that wins games like that, and I don’t think there’s any question that team is Syracuse.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 16, Syracuse 23

Evan Watkins:

Until I see anything that reveals an offense in Blacksburg, I will assume that each remaining game will be a dog fight on defense. This weekend, Virginia Tech will face one of the most dominant running backs in the ACC and that isn't a great matchup, especially when your offense can't score points.

If Sean Tucker gets warmed up, he is extremely difficult to slow down and he can pick up yards in a hurry. If Syracuse gets a lead in this game, they have the offense to control the clock and grind out a win.

While Virginia Tech's defense punches above its weight, no defense can be productive when their offense cannot sustain drives and give them a rest.

Based off the season thus far, I have a hard time picturing Virginia Tech putting up over 17 points on offense and the Syracuse run game is very dominant.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 17, Syracuse 21

Matej Sis:

After the worst offensive output of the Justin Fuente era at Virginia Tech against Pittsburgh last week, expectations for the Hokies have reached rock bottom. An apathetic fanbase now dreads watching their uninspiring program perform on a weekly basis. However, if there's ever a time to get one of the few victories remaining on the schedule, it's against sneaky Syracuse team that has lost their last three games in devastating fashion.

The Orange have their strengths on offense that coincide with the Virginia Tech weaknesses on defense. Syracuse has figured out a run-first identity behind Mississippi State transfer 6-foot-4 inch 230-pound QB Garrett Shrader (418 rushing yards, 9 TDs) and freshman sensation RB Sean Tucker (948 yards, 9 TDs). The nature of how both teams operate will deplete the game clock and likely result in a low scoring affair.

Justin Hamilton has quietly performed as well as you could ask for the 2nd year coordinator through the first half of the season. The defense will be tasked with stopping the Syracuse's No. 13 rushing attack in the nation. The Hokies give up 155.7 yards per game on the ground, but this will be their toughest challenge yet. 

Ultimately, the team that is able to establish an early lead, continuously move the chains, deplete the game clock and keep their defense off the field will win this game. On paper, Syracuse actually looks like the far superior team with their rushing attack and defense. However, I do think Virginia Tech will find a way to give themselves and early lead and put Syracuse on the backfoot. Closing out from in front will be a challenge, especially against a pesky Syracuse defense. 

Call me crazy, but I'm rolling with Virginia Tech on the back of an impressive defensive performance that limits Shrader/Tucker and a solid-but-not-great offensive performance. Maybe the throwback jerseys will inspire positive play. With their backs against the wall, I truly believe this is the make or break moment if the Hokies want to salvage anything from this season. 

Prediction: Virginia Tech 24, Syracuse 20