For those who read this column on an ongoing basis, it may appear that we basically cut and pasted last week’s Absolutes and Desirables for this week’s Virginia Tech game. Not really, but it’s true that many of the keys to success against the Yellow Jackets are critical to success this week against the Hokies.
Virginia will need another solid effort from the running game. It will also need to avoid any special teams breakdowns, win the field-position battle, protect Marques Hagans and have a productive day from the passing game. It may seem repetitive, but at this time of year championship teams consistently do the things that allow them to win.
As it was with FSU, this is a big game and everything is an Absolute.
1) Play smashmouth football
When you have the best offensive line in the league and two of the conference’s best running backs, you must be able to run the football. Virginia Tech is 4th in the ACC in run defense, yielding 124.2 yards per game. The ‘Hoos are the nation’s 9th-best running team, averaging 246.6 yards per game.
If Virginia has the type of rushing performances it did against Miami and Maryland, the potential for victory is significantly enhanced. Dominate the line of scrimmage, wear down the Tech defense and put the game away late in the third quarter – that’s the order of the day.
2) Limit Tech’s big-play capability
On the season, the Hokies have posted 29 passing plays of 20-plus yards and scored on nine of them. Tech has also recorded 38 plays of 30 yards or more (eight on special teams, seven on defense), scoring 14 touchdowns (five on special teams or defense).
The ‘Hoos were devastated by the big play last season, an issue that likely cost them games against Clemson, N.C. State and FSU. Virginia has shown dramatic improvement in that category this season and must continue to avoid giving up huge...
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