On Thursday night Virginia Tech accomplished what has been so difficult for other college football teams in recent seasons — they stopped Georgia Tech‘s running game in a 17-10 win. Considering the fact that Georgia Tech entered the game with the fourth-most yards per game on the ground and the 11th-most points in all of college football, this was remarkable. But more than just showing they can stop a powerful offense for one game, the Hokies showed they have a powerful enough defense to keep their team in the hunt for the ACC title during the 2013 season.
Coming into the game we already knew that Virginia Tech had the ability to stop nearly any passing unit in the game. After all, the Hokies held Alabama and AJ McCarron to a mere 110 passing yards in the opening game of the season, and picked up eight more interceptions in subsequent games against Western Carolina, East Carolina and Marshall. They were never going to have this unit tested against a Georgia Tech team that runs the triple option, and really any team that tries to pass the ball against Virginia Tech is participating in a fatal exercise.
But on Thursday night Virginia Tech’s defense showed that it can also stop any running unit in college by plugging every hole that Georgia Tech expected to exploit with its triple option offense. Georgia Tech rushed for a mere 129 yards in the game, or more than 200 yards below their average total per game during the 2013 season. To hold Georgia Tech to this total is a remarkable feat for any unit, but is made all the more impressive by the fact that Virginia Tech did it coming off a four-day week.
Doing this showed up undoubtedly that Virginia Tech can stop the run game extremely effectively, and given the fact that we already knew the Hokies could stop the passing game, it is hard to see any team left on their schedule picking up more than 21 points. After all, they only have one game left against a ranked opponent, at Miami on Nov. 9, and this matchup will likely be the only thing standing between them and a trip to Charlotte for the ACC title.
But given the fact that the Hokies have the ability to both stop the run and pass extremely effectively, it is likely that the group will be extremely prepared for the big game in Charlotte.