( Part two can be found Last Look at Virginia Tech Part Two, Irish Roll )
When thinking about this game I have been torn about what we will see from the Irish. I decided to break this up into two parts because truthfully I see this going one of two ways. Part one is a repeat of Miami.
Since Brian Kelly has taken over as the Notre Dame head coach, the Irish are 3-10 in away games against ranked teams. The Irish have also never overcame more then 7 points to win in the same situation during his tenure.
That’s a tough stat to see for even the most optimistic fan. The Irish haven’t beaten a ranked team on the road since Halloween 2015 when they won at Temple. You have to go back even farther to Thanksgiving 2012 when Notre Dame beat a ranked USC team in California.
This means that a slow Irish start will likely mean disaster. The slow start would most likely come down to a struggling offense. At this point it seems Book has the offense trending in the right direction but There is a few factors to look at.
Left Tackle Liam Eichenberg gave some bulletin board material for the Hokies this week when he was quoted about the Lane Stadium noise, “It’s gonna be loud. But our stadium is loud. I’m excited to go in there, kick the shit out of them, get a win, then get out of there.”
The reason to mention that is to bring up the pass rush Eichenberg and the Irish have to face tonight. The Hokie defense ranks 19th nationally averaging three sacks a game. With top pass rusher, Trevon Hill (3.5 sacks) being dismissed from Virginia Tech this week, it will be pass rush by committee for the Hokies.
Eichenberg has struggled at time with the pass rush this season and after losing captain Alex Bars for the season, this offensive line could look a bit leaky. Book has shown he has enough athleticism to escape but if he is constantly being pressured, it could be a long night for the Irish.
The Irish coaches are also preparing for VT to throw everything they have at Book tonight Coach Kelly was quoted this week, “I think the game will dictate what we see. It’s a younger group, you’re not going to see 10 different defensive structures. What you see is what you’re going to get. And then we’ll adapt to it. We’ve tried to do a little bit of everything to prepare Ian for it.”
The Irish offense can not struggle for an entire half or even a full quarter. This Irish defense is the real deal and I have no worry about them. ( more detail into their stats in part two Last Look at Virginia Tech Part Two, Irish Roll ) But to think they will shut out the Hokie offense will be a stretch. Look for Virginia Tech to come out fast based on the pre-game festivities and having a top 10 team at home on Saturday night.
The Irish need to quite the crowd quick. With Jafar Armstrong still out and Jones Jr. possibly missing this week it could all come down to Dexter Williams. To add onto the fact that the pass rush could be an issue, it will all come down to running backs picking up the pass rush. Williams will have a tall order and a busy night as the Hokies are sure to bring pressure to get Book feeling uncomfortable.
This was the post for the wheels falling off and A similar Notre Dame collapse like at Miami last season. If the Irish start flat and Metallica is to much for the Irish to handle it could be a long, upsetting, booze fueled night.
Virignia Tech 31 Irish 17
Read part two here. This will be the flip side to tonight and not so doom and gloom.
Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. Covering all things college football and talking Notre Dame on Twitter.