The Five Things: Virginia, Virginia Tech, The Clash

UVA wants to party like it’s 1998

commonwealth clashUVA’s last win in Blacksburg was in 1998, and in that one, it was 29-7 Tech at the half, on a sunny, abnormally warm Saturday afternoon after Thanksgiving.

I was there, not in the press box, but in Row SSS, Section Something or the Other, wearing orange and blue, alone in a sea of Tech fans.

I didn’t make a sound until the Ahmad Hawkins TD with two minutes to go.

Ahmad was my seatmate (socially distanced) in the press box last weekend.

The photo of him in prayer in the end zone after scoring that TD was my screensaver for years.

Damn, that was a long time ago.

Tech wants to party like it’s 2018

Virginia Tech has lost its last four and five of its last six, has been torched for 38.8 points per game in the losing skid, including 45+ each of the past two weeks, and is sitting 4-6 at the moment.

Sound familiar?

Yeah, the situation was eerily similar for the Hokies going into the rivalry game two years ago.

That Tech team was 4-6, having lost four straight and five of six, giving up 42.5 points per game in the losing skid, and it meant not one damn thing, as the Hokies led 14-0 at the half on a cold late November Friday night in Blacksburg, then rallied from a late 31-24 deficit to win in OT.

None of this has anything to do with 2020.

Still needed to be pointed out, to get you to slow your damn roll.

More fun with numbers

Boston College’s backup QB, Dennis Grosel, threw for 520 yards last week, tying a school record held by (checks notes) Doug Freakin’ Flutie, and UVA still won by double digits.

The Virginia pass defense is 15th in the ACC (314.7 yards per game). Opposing QBs have a 153.9 passer rating.

That QB would rank third in the ACC, if the aggregate of those 10 guys could be made into one.

Think about that: the average QB performance against UVA this year would be the third-best quarterback in the league.

The current third-best QB in the ACC by passer rating: Virginia Tech’s Hendon Hooker (153.5).

Let that one sink in.

Injury updates

Hooker looks to be a go for Saturday night. Word is he was experiencing cold weather-related muscle spasms this past Saturday night in the loss to Clemson, in which he was on the field for just seven snaps, two of them fumbles.

The temperature at kickoff this week is forecast in the low 50s, so, that shouldn’t be an issue.

UVA looks to be getting back edge linebacker Noah Taylor and nose tackle Jahmeer Carter.

The line and ‘backer units were depleted for the BC game, so this should be a plus.

The skinny

Vegas has it at Tech +3, with the over/under at 63, suggesting a final score of 33-30.

The ESPN FPI gives Tech a 64.5 percent win probability.

But then, the FPI has the Hokies ranked 33rd nationally with that 4-6 record, four-game losing streak and the rest.

UVA in the FPI: 54th.

Don’t get mad at the FPI. It’s an algorithm, probably.

Story by Chris Graham


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