Keys to the Game and Matchups to Watch: ECU

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Finally, football season has arrived and Virginia Tech will open with the
most emotional opener in Hokie history. Lots of storylines surround this game
with ESPN College Gameday visiting Blacksburg and covering the pre-game
ceremonies which will draw a national audience. The initial entrance of the team
to “Enter Sandman” is always an uplifting event, but no entrance will ever mean
as much as this year’s trip through the tunnel.

However, with all the fanfare and emotion of the opening ceremonies, a
football game still must be played. The overall key to this game, for both
teams, will likely be how the players handle the emotion and maintain their
focus on their individual assignments. Virginia Tech has played in many big
games, but no game has had the same impact as this game and the players must
maintain their concentration and not let the emotion of the game overwhelm their
play. Watch the execution for both teams early in the game and see if needless
penalties occur and assignments are missed.

Keys to the Game

When Virginia Tech has the Ball:

1. Control the Ball/Improve Third Down Efficiency

Obviously,
Frank Beamer would like to control the ball and establish field position, so the
foremost key to this game will be the play of the offensive line in dominating
the line of scrimmage. The Hokies need to move the chains consistently by
setting up shorter third down situations and then execute efficiently on
critical downs. First down efficiency, as in every game, will be a key factor to
watch.

East Carolina has a solid defensive front with six of their front seven
returning from one of the better defensive units in Conference USA. While Tech’s
offensive line looks to be improved from last year, the Hokies may not find
running the ball on the Pirates to be that easy. The key is to run for enough
yardage on first and second down so that Sean Glennon is placed in third down
situations that are achievable. Avoiding

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