Second place in ACC at stake as No. 15 Louisville hosts Virginia Tech in matchup of stingy defenses

Virginia Tech (4-4, 3-1 ACC) at No. 15 Louisville (7-1, 4-1, No. 13 CFP), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ACCN)

Line: Louisville by 9 1/2, according to Sportsbook.

Series record: Virginia Tech leads 6-2.


Louisville is coming off its first shutout of a ranked opponent and looks to maintain second place behind No. 4 Florida State in the ACC. Virginia Tech stands a half-game back after consecutive league wins and aims to overtake the Cardinals.


Which team defends best is the question with two of the ACC’s stingiest units on display. Louisville ranks second at 303.4 yards allowed per game and capped a nasty October at home by holding Duke to just 51 yards rushing and 202 yards overall in last week’s 23-0 victory. Before that the Cardinals intercepted Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman three times and dropped him five times while limiting the Irish to 298 yards and just 44 rushing. The visiting Hokies are yielding 316 per contest and have racked up 15 sacks the past two games, including eight against Syracuse in a 38-10 rout. Their 30 sacks lead the ACC and rank fourth nationally. DL Antwaun Powell-Ryland, a Florida transfer, leads the ACC and ranks fourth in FBS with nine sacks, with two against the Orange.


Virginia Tech quarterback Kyron Drones poses a dual threat, having completed 59% of his passes for 1,237 yards and seven touchdowns with 400 yards and four scores rushing. He totaled five TDs against Pittsburgh (three passing) with 228 yards through the air, the first Hokies QB with five scores since Josh Jackson in 2017.

Louisville running back Jawhar Jordan is coming off a career-best 163-yard rushing performance with two touchdowns on 21 carries against Duke. He has nine 100-yard rushing efforts the past 13 games and with 824 yards this season (second in the ACC) is just 176 away from becoming the Cardinals’ 23rd 1,000-yard runner.


Virginia Tech won the previous meeting 42-35 in 2020, the first in ACC play. … RB Bhayshul Tuten is fourth in ACC all-purpose yards at 118.3 per game. He rushed for 118 yards and a score against Syracuse. … LB Keli Lawson is sixth in the ACC with 66 tackles, including 1.5 sacks. … Louisville has won nine consecutive home games, its best stretch since 2015-16. ... Kicker Brock Travelstead made three more field goals against the Blue Devils and is 13 of 17 this season. His next kick moves him into the Cardinals’ top 10 for most made in a season.


Get alerts on the latest AP Top 25 poll throughout the season. Sign up here ___

AP college football: and