The Virginia Tech Hokies enter today’s ACC game with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets knowing that they are a win away from winning the ACC Coastal and clinching a spot in the ACC Championship. The Hokies are in the midst of their best season since they were last in the ACC Championship in 2011, but will face a Georgia Tech team eager to spoil the party and guarantee a bowl game today.
The Hokies know that Georgia Tech is a unique opponent given their triple-option offense that brings numerous challenges so with that said, here are our keys to the game.
Be Efficient and Effective Early In This Game
If there’s one surefire way to put Georgia Tech on the ropes and make it hard for them to do what they want, it’s to get out to an early lead and make them play catch up. Getting an early lead is more meaningful against Georgia Tech than any other ACC opponent because of how Georgia Tech’s triple option aims to limit the number of possessions and control the time of possession.
Virginia Tech has proven at home that they can get off to fast starts especially back in September when the Hokies put up 14 first quarter points in back-to-back weeks against Boston College and East Carolina. If the Hokies can get off to some sort of 14-0 lead after the first quarter, Virginia Tech will be in really good shape to win the game and the Coastal today.
Georgia Tech showed this flaw of theirs last week when they were down 27-17 at halftime but ended up losing 48-20 in part because Georgia Tech had to play catch up and therefore couldn’t run their slower, clock-controlling offense. If Georgia Tech is down by more than one possession at halftime, it could be serious trouble for the Yellow Jackets.
The Hokies likely know that they have to be efficient and effective early in this game if they want to make live easier on themselves. If the Hokies can get a big lead in the first quarter as they did against Boston College and East Carolina, and a multi-score lead at halftime as UNC had against Georgia Tech, the Hokies should get the job done.
Play Disciplined Football
When our own Dwight Lester talked about how you stop the triple option, one of the biggest things was playing disciplined football and not trying to do more than what you are assigned to do. For the Hokies, it is critical on defense to be disciplined against a Georgia Tech offense that is designed to test a defense’s discipline.
Bud Foster and his defensive staff have definitely been stressing it all week the importance of staying disciplined in many facets, not only just limiting penalties but also keeping your assignments. While Georgia Tech’s backfield is somewhat depleted entering today, the Yellow Jackets still have the playmakers to take advantage of missed assignments by Virginia Tech defenders.
It will also be important for the Hokies to avoid unnecessary penalties on defense that could extend Georgia Tech drives and allow them to chew more clock as they want to. The Hokies haven’t had a penalty issue this season but if penalties become a problem today, it could prove costly if this turns out to be a back-and-forth game.
Discipline will be critical for the Hokies on defense today and if they play with plenty of discipline, Hokie fans won’t have much worrying to do.
Stay Focused On The Game, Not The Coastal Race
While Justin Fuente and Virginia Tech have talked about the importance of going 1-0 every week, there is almost no doubt that the Hokies realize that a win today will win them the ACC Coastal and book them a ticket in next month’s ACC Championship especially with how hard it is to keep things like that quiet due to social media.
However, the Hokies must do everything they can to stay focused on the game and not get obsessed with how big of a moment this could be for Virginia Tech football to be the team that sends the four-time ACC Champions back to the title game for the first time since 2011. The Hokies can’t go out there and start thinking about how big of a moment this could be but instead have to stay focused on getting the job done against a solid Georgia Tech team.
The Hokies are on the brink of reasserting their dominance in the ACC Coastal after a four-year drought with this being the day where they can lock it up for the first time since 2011 but it is critical that the Hokies stay focused on the task at hand and don’t start thinking about how big this win can be until this game is over.
If the Hokies can do that, they should be celebrating an ACC Coastal title tonight in Lane Stadium.
Stay up with The Tech Lunch Pail for the latest on the Hokies via Twitter and Facebook plus subscribe to our email updates.