|College Football: Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Wednesday, 31 October 2007 08:53|
Hungry for Third Straight
Virginia Tech suffered a heartbreaking loss to the nation's second-ranked team last week. Coach Frank Beamer will get to see Thursday night what his team learned from the experience.
The No. 11 Hokies (6-2, 3-1 ACC) look to rebound and get back in the win column when they visit a Georgia Tech squad that's looking for its third straight victory.
Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Georgia Tech -2.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Thursday's game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 75% of bets for this game have been placed on Virginia Tech +2.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
Virginia Tech looked to be on its way to upsetting Boston College last Thursday, leading 10-0 late in the fourth quarter. The Eagles' Matt Ryan, though, guided his team to a pair of touchdowns in the final 2:17 to lift unbeaten BC to a 14-10 victory.
"You think back to several times during the game where you have an opportunity to go ahead and win it," Beamer said. "We just didn't quite get it done."
The Hokies came close, with Branden Ore rushing for 97 yards on 20 carries against the Eagles' top-ranked run defense, which came in allowing 46 yards per game. Virginia Tech, however, failed to capitalize on one of the opportunities Beamer spoke of with 6:01 left, when D.J. Parker picked off Ryan's pass at the Eagles' 31.
The Hokies, though, couldn't convert the interception into points.
"That's what Heisman (candidates) do," Hokies defensive end Chris Ellis said. "They don't ever give up. We beat the O-line, put licks on him and he came through at the end. He had a 2-minute drill - two of them. He did what he had to do."
Virginia Tech, which had its five-game winning streak snapped and fell three spots in the Top 25, lost to Georgia Tech 38-27 last Sept. 30. The Hokies had won the previous two meetings, in 2004 and '05, and are tied at 2 with the Yellow Jackets in the all-time series.
Virginia Tech will be looking to bounce back against a Georgia Tech squad that's coming off a 34-10 victory over Army on Oct. 20. The Yellow Jackets (5-3, 2-3) prevailed despite losing star tailback Tashard Choice to a right knee injury in the first quarter, as Rashaun Grant ran for 119 yards and a touchdown after Choice departed.
The victory may have been bittersweet for Georgia Tech, though, as both running backs were lost to injury. Choice underwent surgery Oct. 23 and won't play against Virginia Tech, although he could return this season. Grant sat out the fourth quarter with a lower right leg injury and may miss the remainder of the season.
Freshman Jonathan Dwyer and sophomore Jamaal Evans, who ran for second-half touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets, may be forced to carry a much bigger load this week as Georgia Tech looks to keep its formidable running game going. The Yellow Jackets rolled up 292 of their 510 total yards against Army on the ground in winning for the second straight time and third time in four games since a 2-2 start.
Georgia Tech may have to rely more heavily on an aggressive defense that has allowed 27 points in its last three victories.
"They bring a lot of pressure," Army coach Stan Brock said of Georgia Tech's blitzing defense. "We know that. They bring it about 80 percent of the time, not based on down and distance. They just bring pressure."
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