Posted by Chip Patterson
VIRGINIA TECH WILL WIN IF: Logan Thomas can find a rhythm early against the Yellow Jackets. You figure that David Wilson will be able to get his usual 100+ yards on the ground, but games where Thomas has gotten hot have led to the most impressive Virginia Tech performances. Thomas' streakiness works in the opposite direction as well, and I expect Georgia Tech's defense to try and confuse the redshirt sophomore with different looks from the linebackers. The Hokies defense is banged up, but Bud Foster has had an extra week to prepare them for Paul Johnson's bruising flexbone option. If Virginia Tech's offense can counter the Jackets with their own ball-control ground game, they take away one of Georgia Tech's best weapons in the matchup.
GEORGIA TECH WILL WIN IF: They can jump out to an early lead on the Hokies. Virginia Tech has not been forced to mount a big comeback once this season, and if the Yellow Jackets can score early they will put Logan Thomas in an unfamiliar position. Rattling the first-year starter will be the responsibility of Al Groh's talented crop of linebackers, as they must contain him from getting streaky hot through the air while eliminating his options to run. The Hokies' defense is thin due to injury, so the more time of possession for Georgia Tech the better.
X-FACTOR: The Georgia Tech passing game. Tevin Washington made a difference in the Clemson victory with great reads and big plays on the ground. But the sophomore quarterback has still not regained his earlier season form through the air. If Washington's accuracy is off, Virginia Tech has the secondary that can make him pay. Led by Thorpe semifinalist Jayron Hosley, the defensive backs will be hawking every pass Washington attempts hoping to come up with a game-changing turnover.
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