2005 Football: Matchups to Watch: Virginia Tech vs. Virginia

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The battle for state bragging rights takes place in Charlottesville this Saturday with more than just pride at stake. Virginia Tech hopes to regroup after a devastating loss to Miami and keep its BCS bowl chances alive. The Cavaliers hope to enhance their bowl placement and continue their momentum after a nice 27-17 victory over Georgia Tech last week. The Wahoo fans contend that Virginia Tech is overrated and that their program is at the same level as the Hokies, while the Tech fans believe that their football program is clearly superior to UVA. Saturday we will find out who gets to boast for the next year.

The Virginia Tech-Virginia game always consists of some interesting match-ups with a number of former high school teammates and rivals getting a chance to play one another again. The most visible rivalry, of course, is between the two quarterbacks � Marques Hagans (#18, 5-10 209, r-Sr.) for UVA and Marcus Vick (#5, 6-0 216, r-Jr.) for VT. The good friends from the Hampton/Newport News area are critical to each of their teams.

Vick uncharacteristically had six turnovers against Miami and needs to re-establish the poised leadership that he exhibited in the first eight games of the season. His ability to rebound and play a solid game against the Wahoos will set the tone for the Hokies to avoid a late-season swoon. Hagans is the �heart and soul� of the Virginia squad and his leadership and big play ability have been key in the Cavaliers� improvement down the stretch. If one quarterback can clearly outplay the other, then their team will have a decided edge in this game.

However, as critical as the quarterback play will be for both teams, the outcome of this rivalry is generally decided in the trenches. Both teams would like to establish the run and control the ball, so whichever team can establish dominance at the line-of-scrimmage will have a clear advantage. The line play also provides the most intriguing head-to-head match-up between one of the best offensive tackles in college football and one of the best defensive ends.

Tapping the Brick

D�Brickashaw Ferguson (UVA #66) vs. Darryl Tapp (VT #55)