2005 Keys to the Game: Virginia

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Anxious to prove that the Miami game was a fluke, the Hokies head to
Charlottesville to face their in-state rivals. At stake is the Commonwealth Cup,
a potential at-large BCS bowl bid, and the chance to silence the doubters and
critics that are expecting another late season fade.

This is a very important game for the Tech seniors. The �Team United�
baton was passed on to them after last season’s unexpected ACC championship. It�s
on their shoulders to prove that they can lead this Tech team through the
adversity of a tough loss. They have said all the right things in the two weeks
since the Miami loss. Can they turn those words into the performance they need
to get back on track?

Let�s explore some of the keys to the game�..

Game Key: Get Off to a Good Start

Coming off of that humbling loss to Miami, the Hokies’ confidence and mental
toughness will be tested early on the road in Charlottesville. Have they put
that loss behind them, and can they rebound with a strong showing against the
Hoos? In a rivalry game where momentum is always a key factor, Tech needs to get
off to a solid start, both offensively and defensively. They want to make an
early statement that what happened two weeks ago was an aberration, not a trend.

Tech Defense vs. Virginia Offense

UVa�s offense has one thing that Tech�s defense doesn�t like to see �
a talented, experienced, senior playmaker at QB. They also have an improved
running game with the addition of a healthy Jason Snelling. And they are playing
at home, where they have played extremely well over the last four seasons.

Tech�s advantage is speed, and they will look to exploit that advantage as
often as possible. They will look to force Hagans out of his comfort zones (more
on that later), they will look to string running plays wide, and they will look
to force passes outside or underneath where their pursuit speed can minimize
yardage gained. They will employ a game plan similar to what they used last year
in Blacksburg, with a few tweaks to account for the personnel differences on
both sides. The defense knows that they have to set the tone for the game
because UVa thrives best when Hagans and the offense gets things moving
(especially in Charlottesville).

Key #1: Force