2008 Keys to the Game, Matchups to Watch, and Game Prediction: Virginia Tech at North Carolina

Hokies face a huge test this weekend in traveling to Chapel Hill to face the
resurgent Tar Heels. UNC looked impressive against Rutgers last week, destroying
the Scarlet Knights 44-12 before a national audience on Thursday night. Virginia
Tech continues to struggle to find an identity offensively and defensively, but
the Hokies survived a difficult Georgia Tech squad 20-17 last week. So, what
should we expect when the top two preseason picks in the Coastal Division face
off on Saturday?

Inconsistency has been the theme for both of these young, but talented squads
this year. UNC struggled in their home opener against McNeese State, but
rebounded with an impressive performance against Rutgers. The Heels have not
moved the ball consistently, but have shown a propensity for making big plays.
Virginia Tech’s inconsistency thus far has been well documented with an offense
that has struggled in the passing game, but has shown flashes in the running
game. Both teams have young, talented defenses that have taken advantage of big
turnovers, but both squads also have struggled in consistently stopping their

On paper, the keys for this game look obvious. Defensively, the Hokies need
to prevent North Carolina from making big plays, particularly in the passing
game, and offensively Tech needs to control the ball on the ground and win the
turnover battle. However, with two young teams, other factors may also influence
the outcome. So, what are the keys for this critical Coastal Division showdown?