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The Roanoke Times | File August
Virginia Tech’s Demitri Knowles (80) crosses into the end zone for a touchdown past North Carolina’s Dominique Green (26) during Tech’s 27-17 win last week at Lane Stadium.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
OFFENSE: EDGE PANTHERS
The key players from last year are gone, but Pitt's replacements are pretty good. QB Tom Savage (1,052 yards, 10 TDs) should be OK after suffering a concussion against UVa. Devin Street (21 catches, 445 yards, 3 TDs) and freshman Tyler Boyd (23 catches, 425 yards, 4 TDs), rank second and third in receiving yards in the ACC, respectively. The o-line is massive but it gave up seven sacks to UVa. For Tech, QB Logan Thomas has had his best two-game stretch since 2011, throwing for 514 yards, four TDs and zero interceptions. The Hokies running game ranks 12th in the ACC, averaging only 124.5 yards a game. They've rushed for 55 yards or less in three of six games.
DEFENSE: EDGE HOKIES
Virginia Tech is giving up only 263.7 yards per game, fifth fewest nationally. But the Hokies, even without CB Antone Exum (knee), have made their mark with disruption. Tech ranks first nationally with 13 picks, tying last year's season total, and is tied for second in the country with 19 sacks. Pitt's defense has been hit or miss this year. The Panthers gave up 55 points and 532 yards against Duke but held Virginia to 3 points and 188 yards the following week. DT Aaron Donald has the most star potential on the team. The senior has six sacks and nine tackles for a loss in four games this year.
SPECIAL TEAMS: EDGE PUSH
Tech continues to have at least one breakdown on special teams every week. Last week, it was a blocked extra point. Fortunately for the Hokies, Pitt is nearly a carbon copy. Both teams have sluggish return games, kickers with question marks and punters who are pretty good.
INTANGIBLES: EDGE HOKIES
Pitt has had Virginia Tech's number lately, winning four straight in the series, although that includes three games from 2001-03 when both were still in the Big East. The Hokies have played well at Lane Stadium, however, especially in division games. They've won nine straight Coastal Division games in Blacksburg, a streak that dates back to 2010.
PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 23, Pittsburgh 13
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