(Miami) OFFENSE: Miami’s offense is going through some growing pains with redshirt freshman Jarren Williams under center. The Hurricanes offensive line hasn’t done him any favors either having allowed 18 sacks in four games (tied for fifth most in FBS). Miami has one of the worst red zone offenses in the ACC and is dead last in the conference in third-down conversion percentage (23.3). Virginia Tech is slightly more effective in both categories, but has somehow been less productive overall. The Hokies could make a change at quarterback this weekend, but it’s hard to imagine that will lead to an immediate turnaround.
(Miami) DEFENSE: Miami’s defense isn’t to blame for the team’s early struggles. The Hurricanes are holding opposing teams to 16 points per game on 269 yards of total offense through four games. They haven’t given up more than 100 rushing yards yet this season either. Another stat that jumps out — opposing teams are only converting 24.5% of their third down attempts (No. 4 in FBS). Virginia Tech’s defense is still trying to get back to a similar level of consistency it showed a couple years ago.
(Virginia Tech) SPECIAL TEAMS: Duke converted a fake punt against Virginia Tech last week leading 38-10 in the fourth quarter. It was a fitting end to the most lopsided home loss in four-plus decades for Tech, but make no mistake — it was an outlier. The Hokies special teams groups have played well this season while punter Oscar Bradburn is making a case for the Ray Guy award this season (he’s No. 7 in the FBS averaging 47.6 yards per punt and dropped eight punts inside the 20-yard line.
(Virginia Tech) INTANGIBLES: Could getting away from Blacksburg be exactly what Virginia Tech needs? There’s plenty of noise around campus about the state of the program and it has to be hard for players to tune out. Maybe a trip to Miami helps them get focused.