Having soundly defeated two FCS opponents by a combined 24 points, Virginia Tech now turns its attention to a 3-3 North Carolina team favored by a field goal(-plus) in Lane Stadium.
And as sad as that sentence may read, Saturday's showdown in Blacksburg still has major ACC Coastal implications, with the winner staying comfortably in the race to be Dabo Swinney's whipping boy in Charlotte come December.
Without further ado, on to the lines!
Over / Under: Hendon Hooker 0.5 turnovers
The Fifth Fuller: Great, force me to choose between my head and my heart straight out the gate. It's actually kind of easy to talk myself into this. Hooker hasn't given away any freebies yet, which is impressive considering that as of today, I don't believe he's ever even heard of the invention of the forward pass. In addition, except for the botched handoff with Keshawn King, he hasn't put anything on the ground, and UNC as a team has only recovered one fumble from the five they've forced. And while they've got six interceptions on the year, they are down four contributors in the secondary who accounted for half of those. This is easy, Hooker keeps his sheets clean, right?
BUT WAIT. Talking up Hooker's admittedly short non-turnover streak reminds me of Jarren Williams, whose interception free play took a pretty quick nosedive. Also, there's no rain in the forecast, which means Tech will basically play Bama on steroids. And the replacement at corner that Hooker will be facing? Freshman Storm Duck. I'm going to spend the rest of the week workshopping jokes (something, something Any Hooker in a Storm...no Hurricane but a STORM OF HOOKERS...still needs work) which of course is going to backfire and result in bad things happening to the Hokies' offense. I'm taking the over.
Joey: Hooker's been surprisingly sure-handed with the ball through two games as QB #1, a statement that even in isolation has warmed the hearts of a fan base that had grown weary of Ryan Willis. North Carolina's defense is entirely average (I mean, who gives up 22-points to a Paul Johnson-less Georgia Tech*), and I fully expect the coaching staff's emphasis this week to remain on taking care of the football.
That said, the law of averages feels like it may win the day here — both in terms of Hooker giving it away at least once, and Justin Fuente's complete and utter dominance of North Carolina returning to some semblance of normalcy.
*Bud Foster does (will). Don't @ me.
Over / Under: 1.5 Damon Hazelton drops
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