2021 Match Day Preview: Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia | Virginie Tech
SPECIAL TEAMS (Tech): There’s no denying that West Virginia has a talented kicking returner in Winston Wright. He’s averaging 51.2 yards per return and opened last week’s game with a 90-yard touchdown return. The Mountaineers’ kicking games aren’t as strong, but kicker Tayler Sumpter averages just 39 yards per attempt and starting kicker Evan Staley has just two touchdowns in 11 attempts. This highlights Tech running back Keshawn King, who also had the best comeback of his career last week.
(Even) INTANGIBLE: Virginia Tech wants to prove that it deserves this # 15 ranking. The last time the Hokies were this high in the polls, it didn’t end well thanks to a loss to Old Dominion. It doesn’t feel like a traditional rivalry game, although the programs have a long history, but players still have a long way to go with West Virginia expecting a near sell-out. The Mountaineers are looking to avoid a 1-2 start as they have a tough road to go with three of the next five on the road with games against Oklahoma and Iowa State during that stretch.
Niziolek’s prediction: West Virginia 27, Virginia Tech 20
Virginia Tech’s offense remains a work in progress and that was before losing star tight end James Mitchell. The Hokies haven’t played very well on the road over the past two years either, going 4-7 in that span. West Virginia has the edge, but it’s still a winnable game for Tech. It’s possible that Braxton Burmeister has a breakout game or the offensive line dominates up front, but the most likely winning scenario for the Hokies is to get a defensive performance similar to what he had in week 1 against UNC.