Keys to the Game and Matchups to Watch: Miami

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The Miami Hurricanes come to town for Senior Day without much more than pride at stake this year. The ACC division
titles will be decided by the Boston College at Clemson and Virginia Tech at Virginia games, so the Miami game will have
no impact on the standings; but Miami has become the Hokies’ most heated rivalry from the Big East days, so I would
still expect a big effort and hard-hitting game.

Miami will be looking to regain pride after an abysmal effort against UVA in the last game in the Orange Bowl. The
Hokies will be looking to maintain the momentum gained in the home stretch in preparation for the huge game with
Virginia next week.

The Hokies are coming off a hard-hitting, physical game against Florida State, and Tech should expect another
bone-jarring game this Saturday. Outside of the in-state rivalries, Miami and Virginia Tech are each other’s biggest
rivals in the ACC, and the games are always hard fought. Like most Virginia Tech-Miami games, this game will most likely
be won in the trenches, but both teams have some explosive players on offense and the capability to make big plays on
defense and special teams.

Turnovers are always critical in the Virginia Tech vs. Miami series, and this game will likely be another defensive
slugfest with field position and takeaways being significant in determining the outcome. The team that can play with the
fewest mistakes and win the special teams battle has a very good chance at being victorious. Three first-half
interceptions doomed the Canes against UVA last week, and turnovers have been a major factor in all of Miami’s losses
this year. The Hokies used three huge fourth quarter turnovers to turn back Florida State last week, and the Tech
defense is playing at a high level and forcing mistakes each week. The trend is certainly pointing toward the Hokies
forcing Miami turnovers and sending Lane Stadium into a frenzy.

In preparing for Florida State and Miami back-to-back, Tech has to make minimal adjustments since both teams have
many similarities.

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