- Associated Press - Thursday, October 13, 2016

No. 17 Virginia Tech (4-1, 2-0 ACC) at Syracuse (2-4, 0-2), 3:45 p.m. (ESPNU)

Line: Virginia Tech by 19½.

Series Record: Syracuse leads 9-8.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Coming off a 34-3 road victory over North Carolina, Virginia Tech is on the rise with new coach Justin Fuente. Syracuse is struggling under rookie coach Dino Babers, having lost four of five. A loss for the Hokies, who sit atop the Coastal Division of the ACC, would put a dent in their title hopes and the chance to play for the league championship. A win for the Orange against a once-bitter rival in the old Big East would do wonders for program’s psyche.

KEY MATCHUP

The Syracuse offense against the Virginia Tech defense. The Hokies have had three straight dominant defensive performances - against East Carolina, Boston College and North Carolina - outscoring those three foes 137-20. The Hokies rank second in the FBS in pass defense (132.2 yards per game) and third in total defense (237.6 ypg). Syracuse ranks second in the ACC and 12th nationally in passing offense, averaging 336.3 ypg.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

VIRGINIA TECH: QB Jerod Evans leads all Power Five conference players in touchdown/interception ratio (15 TDs, 1 interception) among quarterbacks with at least 10 TD passes. He also leads the ACC in passer rating (175.6).

SYRACUSE: WR Amba Etta-Tawo leads the nation in receiving yards (876) and receiving yards per game (146) and has had 15 plays of 20 yards or more.

FACTS & FIGURES

Syracuse hasn’t beaten a ranked team since a 45-26 win over No. 11 Louisville in 2012. … The second straight season first-year ACC coaches Fuente and Babers will square off. Fuente’s Memphis Tigers defeated Babers’ Bowling Green Falcons 44-41 last September. … The Orange and Hokies met 12 times while members of the Big East from 1991-2003, with each team registering six wins. During that span, the two teams combined to win six conference championships, including sharing the title in 1996. … Tech won its last meeting with Syracuse, 51-7 at Lane Stadium (2003). The Hokies lost 50-42 in triple overtime in their last game at the Carrier Dome (2002).

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www.collegefootball.ap.org

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