Scouting Virginia Tech: how the Hokies win...

Run the football, win the return game, prey on the pass

Clemson's Rashard Hall tackles Virginia Tech's  David Wilson during the second half of their ACC Championship game in Charlotte.

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson's Rashard Hall tackles Virginia Tech's David Wilson during the second half of their ACC Championship game in Charlotte.

How The Hokies Win...

1. Run the football: Virginia Tech's rushing attack has lacked its usual punch during the first half of the season, and the Hokies need to get back to their bread and butter. During Frank Beamer's long tenure, the Hokies are 185-35-2 when out-rushing the opposition, but just 26-66 when being out-rushed. During Virginia Tech's current run of 19 straight bowl appearances, the Hokies are 109-7 when rushing for 200 yards or more. Until Saturday, this year's team was averaging just 131 yards per game - eighth in the ACC. They found room to run against Duke, and it made a difference.

2. Win the return game: The Hokies are extremely dangerous whenever they touch the ball on returns. Demitri Knowles leads the conference in kickoff returns with a 29.3 average, and had 93-yard touchdown last week against North Carolina. Teammate Kysheon Jarrett leads the ACC in punt return average at 22.0, and has a 94-yard touchdown return this season. Clemson, meanwhile, made little noise with its return game during the first half of the season.

3. Prey on the passing game: Virginia Tech has had trouble stopping the run, but has been solid and productive against the pass. The Hokies rank second in the ACC in passing efficiency defense with a 111.0 rating, and are averaging an interception per game. Clemson will put the ball in the air often, and the Hokies are capable of making big plays against the Tigers' passing game.

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