Keys to the Game, Matchups to Watch, and Game Projection: The ACC Championship Game

Ever since Matt Ryan performed the much-publicized miracle comeback on a
rainy, dreary Thursday night in late October, Virginia Tech fans and players
have been looking for revenge. The Hokies get their second chance this Saturday
against BC in the third annual ACC Championship Game. Many changes have occurred
for both teams since that game, so what should we expect this time?

Hokies are playing in their second ACC Championship Game in three years, and
Tech has the opportunity to win their second outright ACC championship in four
years. Boston College is appearing in their first ACC Championship Game, and the
Eagles will be playing in the most important football game for BC in a long
time, if not ever. The edge the Hokies have in experience in playing in big
games cannot be emphasized enough. Boston College has very, very little
experience in playing in big games, and that factor alone may give Tech a big

However, the clutch play of Matt Ryan (#12, 6-5 220, r-Sr., 4.89) cannot be
emphasized enough, either. Under new coach Jeff Jagodzinski and offensive
coordinator Steve Logan, BC now has a wide-open offense that can score from any
place on the field. The Hokie defense played very well in the first contest,
stifling the passing game of Ryan until the ill-fated final four minutes. Many
BC fans insist that the weather played a huge role in shutting down the Eagle
offense, but I believe that the Hokies can make just as strong a case.

Bud Foster’s defensive game plan was conservative with a variety of zone
defenses used. Certainly, that was the plan going into the game, but the weather
also prevented Tech from pressing BC’s receivers or playing more aggressively in
the secondary for fear of allowing a big play. The rain certainly impacts the
passing and receiving with the wet ball, but the limitations of defenders
slipping in coverage is important, too. Needless to say, the weather had a great
impact on the Thursday night game, and fans should expect a different game this