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Keys to victory: Georgia Tech at Virginia

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Duke Virginia Football

The Virginia Cavaliers offense celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter of an NCAA football game at Scott Stadium on Saturday October 16, 2021 in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/Mike Caudill)

Keys to victory for Saturday night's ACC Coastal Division matchup between Virginia and Georgia Tech.


Start fast: In home games against Illinois and Duke, the Cavaliers jumped out to double-digit leads in the first half and cruised to blowout victories. If Virginia is able to get ahead early on Saturday night and force Georgia Tech to play catch-up, it could enjoy a similar result. 

Attack on offense: One way the Cavaliers can build an early lead is by attacking Georgia Tech's defense through the air. The Yellow Jackets rarely get interceptions and have struggled against top-tier QBs this season, surrendering 389 yards and four touchdowns to Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett and 306 yards and two TDs to UNC's Sam Howell.

Protect Scott: Virginia has been an exceptional home team recently, going 15-2 at Scott Stadium since 2019. Conversely, Georgia Tech has struggled in its recent trips to Charlottesville. The Yellow Jackets have lost three in a row in Scott Stadium and have not one at UVa since 2013. With a raucous Saturday night atmosphere and bowl eligibility at stake, the Wahoos have plenty of motivation to make it four losses in a row.

Georgia Tech

Be bold: The Yellow Jackets enter Saturday's game as a touchdown underdog. Facing one of the ACC's most dynamic offenses, Georgia Tech will have to score a lot of points to pull off the upset. Settling for field goals instead of touchdowns won't cut it. If the Yellow Jackets want to walk out of Scott Stadium with a win, they will have to take some chances on fourth down and dial up a gadget play or two. 

Thrive in the third quarter: Virginia has struggled early in the second half of games this year. Through seven games, Cavaliers have been outscored 76-61 in the third quarter. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, has outscored opponents 35-17 in third quarters this season. If the game is still close at halftime, that third-quarter trend could bode well for the Yellow Jackets.

Create turnovers: Georgia Tech has only generated three interceptions in six games this season, which ranks last in the ACC. Bucking that trend and snagging a pick or two against Brennan Armstrong and Virginia's pass-heavy offense could go a long way in the Yellow Jackets pulling the upset.


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