Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 2, 2019

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 44 of 63 NOV. 2, 2019 45 outputs — most notably a career-high 176 against USC Oct. 12 — to push the Irish up to No. 41 na- tionally with an average of 189.0 yards per game. Through games played Oct. 19, Jones ranked 33rd in the nation with an average of 92.8 rushing yards per game. As is traditionally expected from a Virginia Tech team, the defense is its calling card. The Hokies are allowing 145.3 rushing yards per game (54th nationally) and have recorded 7.0 tackles for loss per outing (31st). Junior linebacker Rayshard Ashby is having an All-ACC season. Heading into the final weekend of October, his 10.1 tackles per game ranked No. 11 in the country and his 17 tackles against North Caro- lina were the 12th most any player had recorded in a single game this season. Advantage: Even NOTRE DAME PASSING GAME VS. VIRGINIA TECH PASS DEFENSE Even while senior quarterback Ian Book contin- ues to face endless criticism regarding his pocket poise and arm strength, he still compares favorably with some of the best in the country. In its starting quarterback rankings after week six, PFF had Book at No. 25 in the nation. With his per-game average of 236.5 yards per contest, Book is on pace to eclipse 3,000 passing yards and had 14 touchdown passes with only two interceptions heading into the difficult matchup with Michigan. Despite missing the first two games with a shoul- der injury, Irish junior tight end Cole Kmet has become a beast in the Notre Dame passing game. Through the win over USC, Kmet's 5.3 receptions per game would've led the nation at his position if he had played in the NCAA minimum of 75 percent of his team's games. All told, he had 21 receptions for 265 yards and three scores. A middle-of-the-pack defensive pass efficiency rating (130.44, 63rd nationally) and five total in- terceptions through seven games for Virginia Tech don't exactly jump off the stat page in terms of a stellar pass defense. But the Hokies' ability to pressure the passer — a defensive quality that Notre Dame's Book has struggled to handle — is what makes this unit dangerous. Virginia Tech has ranked in the top 15 almost all season in team sacks, and stood 11th with 3.57 per game following the win over UNC. It also features a balanced sack attack with five players having recorded at least three sacks so far this season. Advantage: Even SPECIAL TEAMS In a breakout moment all Irish fans had been waiting for this season, Notre Dame junior place- kicker Jonathan Doerer delivered a game-making effort for these units. During a tight three-point win against USC, on a windy night, Doerer delivered on field goals of 45, 52 and 43 yards. That made him the second Irish placekicker to convert three field goals in a game with all of the makes longer than 40 yards. The Irish coverage units have ranked among the nation's best. Once renowned on special teams, Virginia Tech has been somewhat more average there, although sophomore return man Terius Wheatley — son of 1991-94 standout Michigan running back Tyrone Wheatley — recorded a 71-yard kickoff return in the season opener. Hokies junior punter Oscar Bradburn ranked No. 3 in the country with a 48.3-yard average. Advantage: Even COACHING Fuente, now in his fourth season as Virginia Tech's head coach, led the Hokies to a 19-8 record in his first two seasons in Blacksburg. However, he had a setback in 2018 with a 6-7 record, which included a 1-5 stretch and a 45-23 loss at home to Notre Dame. Meanwhile, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and his Irish have won 15 straight home games and remain in the hunt for a third straight 10-win season and a trip to a New Year's Six bowl game, either the Orange or Cotton. Advantage: Notre Dame INTANGIBLES Notre Dame has been near or at the top of the NCAA rankings in turnover margin all season with nearly a plus-1.67 margin, while Virginia Tech has been near the bottom of the pack at minus-0.70. And in terms of red zone efficiency before the Michigan game, Notre Dame was one of only three teams in the country (Iowa and LSU) that remained perfect in its red zone scoring chances. In 22 red zone trips, the Irish had 19 touchdowns and three field goals. Virginia Tech has been stingy this season in red zone defense, holding its opponents to 16 touch- downs and six field goals in 29 tries. Notre Dame will be coming off an emotional game at Michigan while Virginia Tech had a bye. But the Hokies lost 45-10 after their first bye. Advantage: Notre Dame GAME PREVIEW: VIRGINIA TECH Offense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. WR 80 Kaleb Smith 6-2 207 R-Fr. 8 Phil Patterson 6-2 195 R-Jr. LT 77 Christian Darrisaw 6-5 311 So. 71 T.J. Jackson 6-6 359 R-Jr. LG 54 Lecitus Smith 6-3 316 R-So. 72 Jesse Hanson 6-5 301 Fr. C 61 Bryan Hudson 6-4 315 Fr. 57 John Harris 6-3 303 R-Fr. RG 74 Doug Nester 6-6 315 Fr. 52 Austin Cannon 6-2 323 R-Jr. RT 60 Silas Dzansi 6-5 325 R-So. 95 Luke Tenuta 6-7 315 R-Fr. TE 29 Dalton Keene 6-4 251 Jr. or 82 James Mitchell 6-3 252 So. WR 6 Hezekiah Grimsley 6-0 185 Jr. 83 Tayvion Robinson 5-10 186 Fr. WR 11 Tré Turner 6-2 190 So. 14 Damon Hazelton 6-2 215 R-Jr. QB 2 Hendon Hooker 6-4 228 R-So. 5 Ryan Willis 6-4 220 5th-Sr. RB 33 Deshawn McClease 5-9 190 R-Jr. or 35 Keshawn King 5-11 182 Fr. Defense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. LDE 45 Tyjuan Garbutt 6-1 238 R-So. 46 Eli Adams 5-11 240 R-Fr. or 90 Jaevon Becton 6-4 255 R-Fr. DT 36 Dashawn Crawford 6-0 290 Jr. 96 Norell Pollard 6-0 265 Fr. or 98 Rob Porcher 6-1 275 R-So. NT 5 Jarrod Hewitt 6-1 288 R-Jr. 96 Norell Pollard 6-0 265 Fr. or 93 Mario Kendricks 6-0 293 Fr. RDE 8 Emmanuel Belmar 6-2 245 R-Jr. 41 Jaylen Griffin 6-1 260 R-So. MLB 23 Rayshard Ashby 5-10 237 Jr. 4 Dax Hollifield 6-1 232 So. or 44 Dylan Rivers 6-1 237 Jr. OLB 4 Dax Hollifield 6-1 232 So. or 34 Alan Tisdale 6-3 220 R-Fr. FS 17 Divine Deablo 6-3 223 R-Jr. 18 Tyree Rodgers 6-1 180 R-Jr. Rover 1 Reggie Floyd 6-0 222 Sr. 7 Devon Hunter 6-0 227 R-So. Nickel 22 Chamarri Conner 6-0 211 So. 9 Khalil Ladler 5-11 190 R-Jr. LCB 28 Jermaine Waller 6-1 180 So. 26 Jovonn Quillen 6-0 188 Sr. RCB 3 Caleb Farley 6-2 207 R-So. 27 Armani Chatman 5-11 195 R-Fr. VIRGINIA TECH DEPTH CHART Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. K 93 Brian Johnson 6-1 191 R-Jr. 96 John Parker Romo 5-11 170 Jr. P 91 Oscar Bradburn 6-1 221 Jr. 96 John Parker Romo 5-11 170 Jr. KO 96 John Parker Romo 5-11 170 Jr. 93 Brian Johnson 6-1 191 R-Jr. H 91 Oscar Bradburn 6-1 221 Jr. Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. LS 97 Oscar Shadley 6-0 246 So. 64 Sam DeLuke 5-10 223 R-Fr. KR 35 Keshawn King 5-11 182 Fr. 24 Terius Wheatley 6-0 197 R-Fr. 12 Nadir Thompson 5-10 188 R-Fr. PR 6 Hezekiah Grimsley 6-0 185 Jr. 83 Tayvion Robinson 5-10 186 Fr. Special Teams

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Nov. 2, 2019