This could be a bounce-back season for the Virginia Tech Hokies, and after losing to Ohio State opening week, the Hokies can take advantage of a lesser Big Ten team in Purdue.
It is not very often that an ACC team is a road favorite in Big Ten country, but we feel this point spread is justified as we expect a safe chalky win when those Virginia Tech Hokies (1-1, 1-1 ATS) pay a visit to the Purdue Boilermakers (1-1, 1-1 ATS) at Ross Ade Stadium in Lafayette, IN at 3:30 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.
The point spread at Bet365 has Virginia Tech as a road favorite for this contest with the current line at -6 with odds of -110.
Hope for Better Success vs. Big Ten
Virginia Tech is facing its second Big Ten opponent in three games here, and the first encounter did not go so well with the Hokies falling to Ohio State 42-24 to begin the season. However, that was vs. the top ranked team in the country and Virginia Tech should find this Big Ten foe much easier to handle this time around. The Hokies did rebound with a 42-3 thrashing of Furman of the FCS last week.
Purdue has taken a similar path, losing to an FBS team and then beating an FCS school. However, the Boilermakers did not get good quarterback play while being the losing college football picks 41-31 to a Marshall team not known for it defense on opening week, which is a bad omen vs. a potentially elite defense here. The Boilers then toyed with Indiana State 38-14, although that win may not mean much.
Dangerous Hokies This Year?
Virginia Tech was one of the elite programs in the country for a long time, winning at least 10 games every year between 2004 and 2011. However, the Hokies have only hovered around the .500 mark in each of the last three years since that streak ended. Still, Virginia Tech has had nice continuity with Frank Beamer as head coach and Bud Foster as defensive coordinator, and the defense should again be one of the best in the country this year.
Remember that Foster is a defensive mastermind with his intricate blitzing schemes, and the Hokies return eight starters from a unit that ranked 14th in the country in point against (20.2 per game) and 21st in total defense (343.8 yards per game) last season. If Purdue’s quarterback Austin Appleby had his difficulties vs. a Marshall defense in the Boilermakers’ only FBS game so far, imagine what kind of mind games Foster’s defense can play with him.
But what has held the Hokies back from reaching double-digit wins the last three seasons has been a pedestrian offense, but there is some evidence that is starting to change, and if that is indeed a fact, Virginia Tech could be on course for a trip to the ACC Championship Game.
Brenden Motley took over as the starting quarterback last week and completed 16-of-24 passes for 233 yards (9.7 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns while the Hokies’ running game has been potent averaging 217.5 rushing yards per game on 4.7 yards per carry.
Endless Search for Purdue Quarterback
The Boilermakers have been looking for continuity at quarterback seemingly forever, as Appleby now represents their fifth starting quarterback in five years. Sure, Appleby has guided Purdue to 69 points in two games, but the fact that he had a nice game vs. an FCS defense in Indiana State in no way prepares him for a Bud Foster/Virginia Tech defense.
Appleby had some decent numbers in his only start vs. an FBS team in the season opening loss at Marshall, completing 31-of-48 passes for 270 yards, However, that still only equates to 5.6 yards per attempt and even more distressing were his four interceptions vs. a less-than-stellar defense out of Conference USA. This will be by far Appleby’s toughest assignment as a starter, and we have serious doubts the junior is ready for what Foster plans to throw at him.
And another cause for concern is that Purdue allowed little Indiana State to rush for 168 yards on 4.1 yards per carry, so Virginia Tech should have no problem controlling this contest on the ground, opening things up for Motley to also build on his fine starting debut as a passer last week.
Do Not Usually Follow Big Yardage Totals Well
Finally, Purdue is 0-4 ATS in its last four games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in its previous game, as well as just 7-15-1 ATS in its last 23 games following a straight up win.
With Purdue apparently not quite ready to step up vs. better competition, look for Virginia Tech to go into Lafayette and win handily by more than a touchdown on Saturday.
College Football Pick: Virginia Tech -6 (-110)