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

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At the beginning of the year, many Hokie fans anticipated Tech playing North Carolina for the opportunity to win the Coastal Division and to play in the inaugural ACC Championship Game. However, I doubt very many, if any, predicted that Virginia Tech would lose to Miami and still have a chance to win a second straight ACC championship. The Hokies have many thanks to give to the other Tech in the ACC � Georgia Tech � for their surprising upset of the Hurricanes. Now Virginia Tech just needs to take care of business and dispatch the Tar Heels to have the opportunity to play the Florida State Seminoles in Jacksonville for the ACC title.

Many questions loomed over the Virginia Tech football program after the loss to Miami, with many Hokie fans fearing another late season collapse, but this team showed great character in bouncing back and smashing the hated Virginia Cavaliers, 52-14. Tech fans can brag that the Hokies clearly have the superior football program in the state after soundly whipping the Wahoos in all phases of the game, but most impressive was the dominance over UVA in the trenches.

As identified in last week�s column, Darryl Tapp continues to be D�Brickashaw Ferguson�s toughest opponent, beating �Brick� with the power game and even using the very move described last week (inside rip move) to record a sack. Jimmy Martin handled Howie Long�s son, Chris, while Tech controlled the center of the line on both offense and defense. The Hokies� secondary was physical and neutralized the Wahoo receivers, never letting UVA gain any offensive consistency. Offensively, Tech was able to get the running backs on the corner and make big plays, as well as consistently exploit the secondary for big yardage.

Tech�s game plan this week will likely be similar to the UVA game. The Hokies will try to control the ball on the ground by winning the battle in the trenches as well as shut down North Carolina�s talented running