Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 8, 2018*

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 38 of 55 OCT. 8, 2018 39 As a redshirt freshman last year, Jackson threw for 2,991 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also rushed for 324 yards and a team-high six touch- downs, and was rated by Blue & Gold Illustrated's Bryan Driskell the best all-around signal-caller the Irish would face this season. A lot was riding on Jackson be- cause there is no proven alpha back — Tech's 3.9 yards per carry last sea- son was 13th in the 14-team ACC in 2017 — and Cam Phillips, the school's all-time receiving leader, is gone. The season fell out of normalcy when Hurricane Florence resulted in the cancellation of its game versus East Carolina Sept. 15. Another tempest would hit the program even more. BOUNCING BACK If Virginia Tech can take some sol- ace in the loss to Old Dominion, it's that maybe it was the second worst upset in school history. Twenty years earlier in 1998, the 5-0 and No. 14-ranked Hokies were a 35-point favorite over Temple, which had been in an 0-26 slide in the Big East (and eventually removed from the league), but the Owls pulled off the shocking 28-24 victory. One year later, Virginia Tech played Florida State in the Sugar Bowl for the national title, won by the Seminoles. Now in his third season at Blacks- burg, head coach Justin Fuente is as- piring toward a similar bounce back, and in his first two seasons has dem- onstrated enough promise to do so. Under head coach Frank Beamer from 1987-2015, Virginia Tech be- came a top-15 to top-25 program for nearly 20 years before experiencing slippage his last four seasons when they finished 7-6, 8-5, 7-6 and 7-6. Fuente provided an energy boost his first season with a 10-4 record and No. 16 finish in 2016, including a 34-31 win at Notre Dame, and the Hokies last year were 9-4 and No. 24. Virginia Tech's consistency has been commendable while going to a bowl game 25 straight years — the second longest current streak to Flor- ida State's 36. THE 'BIG GAME' Since beginning its partial ACC football membership schedule in 2014, Notre Dame is 0-3 against ranked league members on the road, losing heartbreakers to Florida State (31-26 in 2014) and Clemson (24-22 in 2015), and then getting crushed at Miami last year (41-8). Virginia Tech was classified in the preseason as that kind of "marquee" game in 2018, but the Old Dominion loss and attrition took off much of the luster. Notre Dame will be coming off an emotion-laden game with No. 7 Stanford, so a possible letdown at Virginia Tech on the road could have far more ramifications than the one at home versus Ball State following the victory versus Michigan in the opener. However, Virginia Tech has not necessarily thrived in the last decade in marquee matchups. The Hokies' last home win versus a ranked op- ponent came against Miami on Sept. 26, 2009. Since then their record is 9-18 against a ranked opponent and 1-8 versus the top 10 (a win over 2014 eventual national champ Ohio State on the road). Since that 2009 win versus Miami, Virginia Tech's home record against ranked opponents is 0-6 (0-3 versus top-10 foes). ✦ GAME PREVIEW: VIRGINIA TECH Predictions Corey Bodden: Notre Dame 38, Virginia Tech 17 What a mess to end the month of September for Virginia Tech with the loss to Old Dominion topped off by losses of quarterback Josh Jackson and defensive end Trevon Hill. That will be too much for the Hokies to overcome against a talented Irish team, even at home. Bryan Driskell: Notre Dame 34, Virginia Tech 13 Old Dominion exposed the Hokies secondary issues that began in the offseason, and the loss of quarterback Josh Jackson crushes the offense. Notre Dame rolls in this road contest. David McKinney: Notre Dame 28, Virginia Tech 17 Boy, did this game look different just a few weeks back. Virginia Tech appeared to be a top-15 team with an established quarterback, and Notre Dame struggled with Ball State and Vanderbilt and was debating about its signal-callers. Quite the reversal. Lou Somogyi: Notre Dame 28, Virginia Tech 16 This will not be the Virginia Tech team that didn't show up versus Old Dominion, and the Irish will be coming off the fervor of the Stanford showdown. It will be important to put the element of doubt quickly into the Hokies' collective mind. Virginia Tech knocked off Notre Dame 34-31 in South Bend in 2016, but they haven't fared well against ranked opponents at home during the past decade. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Oct. 8, 2018*