2011 Orange Bowl Preview
After a day without bowl games on January 2nd, Stanford and Virginia Tech take center stage for the Discover Orange Bowl on January 3rd at 8:30 pm ET. Stanford enters the game with a 8-1 record in the Pac-10 and an overall record of 11-1. Stanford’s only loss came on October 2nd to the Oregon Ducks. Virginia Tech started their season with disappointing losses to Boise State and FCS school James Madison, but they turned their season around and have won 11 straight games and the ACC championship. Oregon is currently ranked 4th in the country and Virginia Tech is ranked 13th.
When Stanford has the Ball
The Cardinal offense fired on all cylinders this season. The key to Stanford’s offensive success was the outstanding play of quarterback Andrew Luck (Luck for Heisman). Luck completed 70% of his passes for 3051 yards and 28 touchdowns this season. Not only is Luck a great passer he can also make plays with his legs when he needs to. Luck averaged 8.6 yards per carry this season on his way to 438 yards rushing. Sophomore running back Stepfan Taylor followed a talented offensive line to 1023 yards and 15 touchdowns this year. Stanford’s balanced attack helped them become the 8th best scoring team in the country at 40.3 points per game.
Virginia Tech’s defense was solid this season giving up only 19.1 points per game. The Hokies are aggressive on defense and like to get after the quarterback. They were 13th in the nation with 34 sacks and they were 2nd in the nation with 22 interceptions. Corner Jayron Hosley had 8 picks this year and the Hokies also got 5 interceptions from linebacker Davon Morgan.
When Virginia Tech has the Ball
Virginia Tech averaged over 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing per game this season. Senior quarterback Tyrod Taylor put up the kind of numbers that should have had him in the running for the Heisman. Taylor threw for 2521 yards with 23 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. Taylor also had 637 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns on the ground. Virginia Tech had three running backs with over 100 carries this season. Darren Evans (139 carries, 817 yards), David Wilson (111 carries, 616 yards), and Ryan Williams (106 carries, 473 yards) will all see time in the backfield against Stanford.
The Cardinal defense was great this season and is ranked 11th in the nation in scoring defense at 17.8 points per game. Stanford’s defense recorded three shutouts this year in Pac-10 play against UCLA, Washington, and Oregon State. Middle linebacker Owen Marecic is the leader on defense and will be all over the field for Stanford including on offense as the fullback.
2011 Orange Bowl Betting Lines and Prediction
The current line has Stanford favored by 3 1/2 over Virginia Tech. I think Stanford has the advantage on offense and defense, so I will take the Cardinal and give the points. The over/under for the Orange Bowl is set at 57 points. Although both teams played well on defense I think the offenses should be able to put up points and I am putting my money on the over.
Prediction: Stanford 38 – Virginia Tech 31