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What advanced stats show how Virginia can end the losing streak to VT

Big passing plays and a better second half are keys to the upset

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In the last game of the regular season, the Virginia Cavaliers take on their rival Virginia Tech in hopes of ending the 13-game losing streak to the Hokies. VPISU relies on their dominant defense much like UVA's last opponent Miami. In order for the Hoos to pull off the upset they need to follow the same game plan vs the Hurricanes but execute better in the second half.

Just like Miami, the Hokies will have a huge advantage on defense. They are #6 in scoring D, #17 in defensive yards, and #2 in 3rd down %. Meanwhile UVA is #84 in scoring O, #93 in offensive yards, and #59 in 3rd down %. The Cavaliers will have a tough time running the ball since VT is top 25 in almost every rushing defensive stat, while UVA is 96 or worse in almost all rushing offensive stats. One stat UVA can take advantage of is that while VT’s defense is #13 in passing success rate, they are dead last in the country in passing explosiveness. Meaning the Hokies are really good at forcing incompletions or short passes, but give up a lot of big passing plays, which is helpful if UVA repeats the big passing plays they had vs Miami.

Luckily Virginia can feel optimistic on the other side of the ball since UVA’s defense ranks better in yards, passing yards, and 3rd down D than the VT offense. The Cavaliers defense is ranked higher in rushing S&P, rushing success rate, passing S&P and passing success rate as well. If UVA can force VT into passing downs, the Hoos have a big advantage there. The Hokies are ranked 85 or worse in all the stats on those downs, which makes sense with a freshman QB.

Just like Miami, Virginia Tech is a second half team, especially the third quarter. Coach Mendehall might have to curse and scream at halftime again because VT is ranked #9 in points scored in the 3rd Q and #12 in points allowed, while UVA is #63 and #114. The Hoos halftime adjustments against Miami worked for the first couple minutes as Virginia built on their lead, but it was all downhill after that as the Hurricanes scored 30 straight points. The Hoos will need to avoid a similar collapse if they are going to bring the Commonwealth Cup back to Charlottesville.