The #22 West Virginia Mountaineers (7-2) visit the #21 Virginia Tech Hokies (6-2) tonight, Sunday, Sep 3 at 7:30 p.m. E.T. Last season in the Big 12, the Mountaineers finished tied for second. They met the Miami Hurricanes in the Russell Athletic Bowl, which West Virginia lost 31-14. In 2016, the Hokies were first in the ACC Coastal Division. They lost the conference championship game to the Clemson Tigers and went to the Belk Bowl, beating Arkansas 35-24 by erasing a first half 24-point deficit. Our 2017 West Virginia plays Virginia Tech football pick has the Hokies favored at -5.0 and the over/under at 52.
West Virginia Offense vs. Hokies D
West Virginia comes to this game with six new starters on offense, including a new quarterback. QB Will Grier, who transferred from Florida and sat out 2016 after being suspended midway through the 2015 season for using performance enhancing drugs, will start for the Hokies. Until he was suspended, Grier got off to a fine start in Florida throwing 10 TD passes while completing 65.8% of his tosses. Florida won all six of the games he started. WVU’s bread-and-butter in this game will be their ground attack, which will be led by senior Justin Crawford (163 ATT, 1,184 YDs, 7.3 YPA). Sophomores Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway, both of whom had 100-yard games last season, will also be in the mix. The receiving group is young and inexperienced.
On defense, Virginia Tech welcomes back seven starters, including premium MLB Andrew Motuapuaka, who made 114 tackles and grabbed three picks last season, and highly productive OLB Tremiane Edmunds. Plus, the secondary has some very fine defenders. Senior corner Brandon Facyson leads that group. The D-line, which is comprised mainly of freshmen and sophomores, has no seniors and little experience. They may have a tough time against the Mountaineer ground attack tonight.
Virginia Tech Offense vs. Mountaineers Defense
Three starters are gone on offense, including highly productive QB Jerod Evans and the team’s two top receivers. Redshirted freshman Josh Jackson gets the start tonight as the team’s signal caller. Jackson earned the starting role early in training camp and had has weeks to become aligned with the VT offense. The Hokies have a fine group of running backs, including junior Travon McMillian. McMillian, who leads returning ACC running backs in career yardage, saw his production drop off last season. Still, he gained close to 700 yards and scored seven times on the ground and three more times on pass catches. Also ready to run are sophomore Deshawn McClease, who missed most of last 2016 with a shoulder injury, and junior Steven Peoples as well as freshman Jalen Holston. The young receiving unit is anchored by senior Cam Phillips who this season stands to become the school’s all-time leading pass catcher.
After the 2016 season, WVU lost eight starters on defense. They are rebuilding and have to replace four of their five top tacklers. The D-line and secondary are especially vulnerable for the Mountaineers. Senior MIKE Al-Rasheed Benton is the team’s top returning tackler with 80 takedowns. Safety Dravon Askew-Henry will start after recovering from a 2016 ACL injury. He can be an impact player in this game, as can fellow safety Kyzir White.
2017 West Virginia Plays Virginia Tech Football Pick
With two relatively unknown QBs, both team’s stressing their ground attacks, and inexperienced defensive players on both sides, we’re giving the edge in this one to Virginia Tech. We think their defense is a bit better, and they have a tad stronger offense. Our 2017 West Virginia plays Virginia Tech football pick will be the Hokies at -5.0 and as well as the over at 52.