Blacksburg, Virginia – The West Virginia Mountaineers (1-2) travel to Blacksburg, Virginia to play rival Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1) in the Battle for the Black Diamond Trophy tonight.
The Mountaineers, who are currently a 2.5 point favorite on the road, have lost on the road against Pitt and at home against Kansas, and have only beaten Towson. Virginia Tech lost their home opener to Old Dominion, then beat Boston College in the second week and Wofford last Saturday.
This matchup will ultimately come down to West Virginia’s much-improved offense led by JT Daniels, Bryce Ford-Wheaton and CJ Donaldson against the Hokie’s outstanding defense. Virginia Tech ranks third in the country in rushing defense (42 yards per game), 5th in total defense (201 yards per game) and in the top 20 in scoring defense, allowing just 12.33 points per game.
Although West Virginia is a far more talented, complete team right now, winning in Blacksburg at Lane Stadium at night in a rivalry game is extremely challenging.
In addition, nothing Neal Brown has done since arriving at West Virginia has given me any confidence to think that he could go into such a hostile environment and win this game. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Brown has proven that he’s not a great game manager, that he gets far too cautious in very important moments, and that he doesn’t win really meaningful, close games.
With that said, this game could really go either way. West Virginia has the talent, but they also have Neal Brown as their head coach. Virginia Tech is not a very talented team, but they have one of the most intimidating environments in college sports, particularly at night in a big rivalry game.
Prediction: Great defense, lots of mistakes/turnovers and more heartbreak for the Mountaineers. Neal Brown’s seat is on fire after this one.
Virginia Tech 24 West Virginia 14