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Friday, November 25, 2011

Hokie Playmakers Could be the Difference Saturday

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Hokie Playmakers Could be the Difference Saturday by Chris Coleman,, November 25, 2011

Virginia Tech has defeated UVA for seven years in a row, and they've been statistically dominant in every single game. Only one contest in that span has been decided by single digits, and the Hoos haven't gained 300 yards of total offense against the Hokies since their last victory against Tech in 2003.

When you look at the total yardage in each game, and you see what an advantage the Hokies have had, it's easy to see why Tech has won seven in a row against their in-state rivals. VT vs. UVA
Year Margin VT Rush VT Pass VT Total UVA Rush UVA Pass UVA Total
2004 14 147 200 347 188 111 299
2005 38 333 170 503 114 140 254
2006 17 156 146 302 46 66 112
2007 12 131 299 430 97 144 241
2008 3 216 176 392 172 77 249
2009 29 298 185 483 175 120 295
2010 30 201 182 383 70 221 291
Average 20.43 211.71 194.00 405.71 123.14 125.57 248.71

The Hokies have won each game by an average of two touchdowns, they have outrushed the Hoos by nearly 90 yards per game, and they have gained over 150 yards per game more in total offense. Tech, not known for how they throw the ball in most years, has outgained the Hoos through the air in six of the past seven seasons. This rivalry has been completely one-sided in favor of the Hokies.

Virginia Tech has had many game breaking players participate in the games from 2004 through 2007: Bryan Randall, Eddie Royal, Brandon Flowers, Chris Ellis, Vince Hall, Xavier Adibi, Ryan Williams, Darren Evans, Tyrod Taylor, Josh Morgan ... the list goes on and on.

Virginia has had some first round talent, such as Chris Long, but overall the Hokies have had the impact players in this rivalry in recent years, and their presence on the field has been the difference. Again in 2011, Virginia Tech will have at least the two best college players on the field in David Wilson and Logan Thomas, and if the Hokies win, it will likely be these two players who are the difference.

Wilson leads the ACC in rushing yards per game, averaging 131.1 yards per game. He is the most explosive outside runner in the league. Meanwhile, Logan Thomas is gaining steam and getting stronger as the year goes on. As we pointed on in Wednesday's game preview, in his last six games Thomas has a quarterback rating of 158.17. He's thrown for 1,452 yards in that span, with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Thomas has also been a force on the ground, and he has developed into Virginia Tech's top short yardage runner. In those six games, he has run for 257 yards and eight touchdowns.

Both Thomas and Wilson are ACC Player of the Year candidates. They have that type of talent. When two of the best offensive players in the league are in the same backfield, combined with the two leading receivers in school history, that becomes a very difficult offense to stop.

Virginia is a good football team that has earned their chance to beat the Hokies for the Coastal Division Championship. But do they have the star power to match up with Logan Thomas, David Wilson and the talented Tech offense? We'll find out on Saturday.

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