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Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech: 3 Things to Watch For

FTRS is starting a new weekly feature in preparation for the game against Virginia Tech this week.

Kevin C. Cox

Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech. The last few years, this match-up has held a lot of weight in determining the Coastal representative in the ACC Championship Game. In fact, prior to the last two years, the winner of this game has been the Coastal representative. With things in the coastal ACC completely wide-open, I fully expect this game to hold just as much weight as it always has.

Now, a lot of the " Things to Watch For" articles I've read often look at individual match-ups or maybe statistical possibilities that the results of the game could hinge upon. I may do some of that at some point, but I will also try to change things up some so this isn't virtually the same article every week.

Thing to Watch For #1: Which teams will show up?

Only three weeks into the season, and we've already seen two completely different versions of both of the teams that will play this Saturday afternoon. Against each of the teams Georgia Tech has played thus far, we've seen one team that has steamrolled would-be competition. On the other hand, we've also seen a team that can't tackle. They can't block. They can't really do much of anything, yet they are somehow still the only undefeated team left in the state of Georgia.

It hasn't been too different for Virginia Tech. In week one, the Hokies played an uninspiring game against William & Mary, only winning 34-9. People were not very surprised with the results of that game until the next week, when the Hokies managed to upset a Braxton Miller-less Ohio State team by two touchdowns in Columbus. And then last week, the Hokies came out with another uninspiring game against ECU. At one point losing 21-0, the Hokies managed to come back and tie it before ECU ultimately won the game by a final score of 28-21.

There's a lot of uncertainty and frustration on both teams. After this past Saturday's uninspiring win against Southern, I shared my disappointment.  As you can imagine, some Hokie fans were also pretty upset after losing to a team that most thought they would win. So my question is this: what team is going to show up on each side? Are we going to get the Georgia Tech team that showed up for the first half against Georgia Southern? Are we going to get the Virginia Tech team that upset Ohio State in Columbus? What about that same Georgia Tech team that took Wofford into halftime with a two-point lead? Or the Virginia Tech team that was losing to ECU by 21-0 at one point. Who shows up?

Thing to Watch For #2: Shai McKenzie

For those non-recruiting buffs, Shai McKenzie was a four-star HB that Georgia Tech was looking heavily at last year. A lot of people in the know thought that we had a pretty good shot at him. He would have come in to play B-Back, but he ultimately chose to join the Hokies over us and Pitt.

So far he's played in every single game for the Hokies and will probably play on Saturday. The only game he played well, however, was in week one against William & Mary, where he had nine carries for 106 yards (a ridiculous 11.8 yards/rush) and a touchdown. After this, the Hokie-faithful thought they had found their next great running back. And then the next two games happened.

Against both Ohio State and ECU, McKenzie had 14 carries. Had he continued his ridiculous pace, he would have had around 165 yards. In those two games, he gained 25 yards. For those that don't want to do that math, that's 1.79 yards/rush. That's not very good folks.

I say all this to remind the Yellow Jackets-faithful that McKenzie doesn't have to be a bad running back. He was a four-star back for a reason. Georgia Tech's rushing defense also hasn't been too much to right home about, granted we have played two option teams this season. It should definitely be interesting to see Ted Roof will attempt to stop McKenzie and the Hokie rushing attack.

Thing to Watch For #3: Timing the snap-count

I know y'all remember this miserable game from last year. If not, I wouldn't recommend watching this following video unless you really want to torture yourself. Warning, this might be painful to watch.

Well, that was miserable. The Virginia Tech defense literally curb-stomped us last year. It was obvious from the very first snap when Kyle Fuller timed it perfectly and caused a fumble on the first play of the game that it was going to be a long night.

It's not even that they timed it so well. It's the fact that even when we tried to adjust to throw them off, we were the ones that jumped!! If the Yellow Jackets want to win this game, they're going to have to to a better job of varying the snap count and winning at the point of contact. Games are won and lost in the trenches.

How will these factors effect the game on Saturday? Is there anything else we need to watch for in the Battle of the Techs?