Keys to the Game and Game Prediction: Ohio

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Virginia Tech is licking its wounds as the Hokies try to regroup from the
bayou bashing received at the hands of the LSU Tigers. Lots of questions need to
be answered as Tech returns to the friendly confines of Lane Stadium to face a
solid Ohio Bobcats team. Will Tyrod Taylor provide the answer to a dormant
offense? Can the Hokies find a running game? Was the defensive performance in
Baton Rouge an aberration or do more fundamental issues exist? The Hokie Nation
is looking for answers, and the game with Ohio has taken on surprising
importance for a football team that appears to be in search of an identity.

I doubt many preseason prognosticators would have predicted that the game
with Ohio University would be critical for the Hokies, but Virginia Tech is at a
dangerous juncture of the season right now. Under Frank Solich, the former
Nebraska head coach, Ohio has become a solid, tough, physical team that is first
and foremost disciplined. Despite suspending over a half a dozen key players
last year (including former Hokie Michael Hinton), Ohio won the MAC East title
last year behind a good running game and a stout defense. If Virginia Tech plays
an undisciplined game, the Hokies could actually lose; just ask Ron Zook, whose
Illini squad lost at home last year to the Bobcats, triggering a seven-game
regular season winning streak for Ohio.

Now I do not expect an upset this Saturday, but Virginia Tech is facing an
unusual number of questions for this stage of the season. Whereas most Keys to
the Game look at scheme or personnel match-ups focused on the opponents, this
article will be much more introspective and focused on the Hokies. Ohio is
basically a given with a solid program, but lacking the speed, size, and power
to compete with Virginia Tech. The Hokies will likely dictate the outcome of
this game with the simple ability of the team to execute in all phases —
defense, offense, and special teams.

Keys to the Game

When Ohio has the Ball:

1. Back to Fundamentals – Tackling