2006 Keys to the Game and Matchups to Watch: Virginia Tech vs. Clemson

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Potentially the biggest game in the ACC this season will be played Thursday
night in Blacksburg as the ACC’s best team to date, the Clemson Tigers, visits
Lane Stadium. A lot is riding on this game as both teams must win to keep their
hopes for a division title intact. Clemson must keep pace with Boston College,
who owns the tiebreaker advantage, and the Hokies must keep up with Georgia
Tech, who also owns the tiebreaker head-to-head. The atmosphere should be
incredible, and the underdog Hokies will be fired up after playing their best
game of the season against Southern Miss last week.

Clemson is also coming off their best game of the season last week against
Georgia Tech. Both the Hokies and the Tigers dominated the line-of-scrimmage in
their games last week, so this week’s game becomes even more interesting,
especially for Virginia Tech, whose line play has been questioned this year.
Ultimately, the battle in the trenches will likely determine the victor in this
game, but a number of “side stories” will influence the outcome as well.

Injuries could be a major factor in this game. Clemson’s big-play wide
receiver, Chansi Stuckey (#2, 6-0 185, r-Sr.) is slated to return from a broken
foot, but his effectiveness is questionable. James Davis (#1, 5-11 205, So.) has
a shoulder stinger, so his ability to run inside may be lessened by the injury.
Second-team All-ACC guard Roman Fry had an ACL tear in the first series against
Georgia Tech and his college career is now over. In addition, Clemson has lost
two starting linebackers in NFL prospect Anthony Waters and super-fast Tramaine
Billie for the season. Clemson has decent depth at all of these positions, but
losing — or potentially losing — that many high-caliber