Virginia Tech vs


at Charlotte
Tue, Dec 31
9:00 AM Pacific
Odds: Kentucky +2.5, Total: 47.5

Game Analysis

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Strong Opinion – Kentucky (+2.5)  24   Virginia Tech  21

Both of these teams are improved due to mid-season changes at quarterback but I think Kentucky is the more underrated team and they appear to match up pretty well. Kentucky saved their season when backup quarterback Sawyer Smith was injured in week 5, as the Wildcats came out after their week 6 bye with top receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. at quarterback to run a version of the option offense. Bowden wasn’t any worse than Sawyer (45.6% completions) throwing the ball and the rushing attack was great, averaging 338.5 yards at 7.0 yards per rushing play in 6 games against FBS teams with Bowden behind center. Their game against Louisville (517 rush yards as 12.9 yprp) was an outlier that I adjusted for, but I still rate the Kentucky attack at 1.4 yprp better than average and 0.5 yards per play better than average using their median performance with Bowden Jr. at quarterback. I’m sure that retiring veteran defensive coordinator Bud Foster has plenty of knowledge when it comes to defending the option but Virginia Tech’s defensive front isn’t particularly good against the run (5.0 yprp allowed to teams that would average 4.9 yprp against an average defense) and SEC defensive coordinators are pretty wise as well and they couldn’t stop Bowden from running the ball for 8.5 yard per run. Virginia Tech’s defensive strength is their aggressive pass rush but being aggressive against the option can backfire and Kentucky throwing the ball just 15% of the time mitigates the Hokies’ defensive strength. I project 312 rushing yards at 6.7 yprp and 360 total yards at 6.3 yppl for the Wildcats in this game.

Virginia Tech’s offense went from bad to good when Hendon Hooker was inserted into the quarterback position in week 6. Hooker averaged 8.5 yards per pass play against teams that would allow 6.5 yppp to an average quarterback and his numbers were even better if you exclude the two games without top receiver Tre Turner (which I did). Virginia Tech still runs the ball 60% of the time even though they’re not good at it (4.9 yprp against teams that would allow 5.4 yprp) and Kentucky’s excellent pass defense (5.4 yppp allowed to quarterbacks that would average 6.5 yppp against an average defense) should slow down Virginia Tech’s big play pass attack some. But, I still project Hooker at 7.4 yppp in this game and the Hokies to gain 328 yards at 5.9 yppl. That number would go up if they choose to throw the ball more but I’ll assume that they stick to the run-pass ratio that they’ve established given that Kentucky is 0.3 yprp worse than average defending the run and very good against the pass.

Kentucky was better than Virginia Tech early in the season and the Wildcats are still better than the Hokies with the current quarterbacks for each team. My math favors the Wildcats by 3.6 points, with a total of 45.6 points, and I’ll consider Kentucky a Strong Opinion at +2 points or more.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Virginia Tech
  • Kentucky


  • Run Plays 37.5 35.1
  • Run Yards 171.1 206.3
  • YPRP 5.0 6.2


  • Pass Comp 18.0 16.9
  • Pass Att 31.0 29.9
  • Comp % 58.2% 56.4%
  • Pass Yards 233.0 215.7
  • Sacks 2.4 2.0
  • Sack Yards 16.6 13.3
  • Sack % 7.3% 6.4%
  • Pass Plays 33.4 32.0
  • Net Pass Yards 216.3 202.4
  • YPPP 6.5 6.3


  • Total Plays 70.9 67.1
  • Total Yards 404.1 422.0
  • YPPL 5.7 6.3


  • Int 0.9 0.6
  • Int % 2.8% 2.1%
  • Fumbles 0.8 0.7
  • Turnovers 1.7 1.3
  • Points 30.9 23.7
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