Steven Peoples and Deshawn McClease vs. the Notre Dame Front Seven
Notre Dame fans should be familiar with Peoples. He was Virginia Tech’s leading rusher behind quarterback Jerod Evans when the Hokies came to South Bend in 2016. On that day, Peoples had 11 carries for 32 yards and a touchdown.
Peoples is once again the top back for the Hokies, and so far this season he has rushed for 302 yards and five touchdowns on 55 carries. At 5-9 and 222 lbs, he is built like an every-down back. McClease, on the other hand, is a change-of-pace back. He checks in at 5-9 and 197 lbs, and he brings some elite speed to this rushing attack. McClease has 45 carries for 214 yards and a touchdown through four games.
Peoples and McClease compliment each other very well in this Virginia Tech rushing attack. Neither of them are that involved in the passing game, though. That may be more indicative of the number of quality pass-catchers the Hokies have rather than their offensive scheme.
It will be imperative for the Irish front seven to win the battle in the trenches on Saturday. They need to bottle up the Virginia Tech rushing attack to a degree to keep them one-dimensional. If Notre Dame is unable to do so and they have to bring their safeties into the box for run support, the Hokies can really hurt them in the passing game.