The Hokies head to El Paso, Texas to take on UCLA in the Sun Bowl. The Hokies are going to have their hands full in this one, because the Bruins have an offense that can put up some points. If the Hokies offense comes out stagnant, then this could end up being a long day for Tech. Let’s get into what Tech is going to need to do in order to win this game.
1. Take Care of the Football
This is the most important key for the Hokies as we all know. When Logan Thomas throws one or less interception he has only lost one game. That one loss came against Maryland, which was just a really strange loss; because usually when they take care of the football it results in a win. The defense will also need to force some turnovers too, to help the offense out.
2. Pressure the QB
Both Thomas and Brett Hundley are talented quarterbacks with great potential at the next level. The one similarity that these guys have is they both tend to force balls into places that shouldn’t at times. Now Hundley hasn’t thrown as many as Thomas has (9 to Thomas’ 13). Both defenses are good, but Tech’s has more of an advantage, because of their pass rush. The Hokies can sub in a lot of bodies to keep them fresh upfront throughout the course of the game. Whichever defense can manage to rattle the opposing quarterback and force discomfort could really have an advantage in this game.
3. Establish Some Type of Ground Game
The Hokies have to getting something going on the ground game. With Trey Edmunds out that task becomes even harder to accomplish. The offensive line should have had plenty of time to heal up and get prepared. Hopefully they will show up and provide some running lanes and a pocket to stand in. With the points that the Bruins are capable of putting up it is important for the Hokies offense to keep them off the field. The best way of doing this is to control the clock with the ground game. If the Hokies found a way to consistently run the ball against the Bruins and open up the passing game, then I would really like their chances in this game.
4. Tech’s Defense Needs to Set the Tone
Both teams have solid defenses. Tech ranks fourth in the nation in total nation while the Bruins are ranked 54. So the Hokies have the edge there. The Bruins offense is ranked 34 to the Hokies 98. That shows the importance of the need for the Hokies defense to shut down UCLA. Their offense is much better than others and it is crucial for the defense to make up for that. If our defense can play up to their full capabilities then Tech will have a chance in this one. If the defense fails to shut them down and our offense cannot stay on the field, then UCLA could have a field day. I’m going to be optimistic and hope for the defense to show up like we know they can. I just hope the offense shows up too.
5. Special Teams
Tech’s coverage’s have been blown up on multiple occasions and if not for some fumbles the Miami game may have turned out differently. The Hokies have hoped addressed these issues and taken care of them. Along with the coverage issues we have had no consistent kicking and that has came back to haunt us at time. Eric Kristensen performed very well against UVA and he is going to have to repeat that performance, because the way the Hokies struggle to put points on the board every point will count.
One Player to Have Your Eye On
Myles Jack plays on both offense and defense foe the Bruins. He plays running back and linebacker. He had only been playing running back in the last four games, but in those games he accounted for seven touchdowns and 267 yards. On the defensive side of the ball he leads his team in pass breakups and passes defended. Along with that he has 70 tackles (5 for a loss). So he is a player to watch, because he makes an impact on both sides of the ball. For someone who scored seven touchdowns in four games, it is vitally important to know where they are when they are on the field.
I’m going into this game very optimistic that the Hokies will have a chance to win. With our defense we should always have a chance to win, but the offense (because of many things) fails to deliver even when the defense does. I would love to see Thomas have a superb game and give something good for the scouts to see. Also I would like to see him go out on a high note, because much of Hokie nation doesn’t appreciate all that he actually has done. Yes he has struggled at times, but I feel that it has been due to the pieces he has not had around him (all great quarterback’s still need pieces around them). Don’t forget what he did his first when he actually had an offensive line, experienced receivers, and a talented running back. I see the Hokies hanging in this one for most of the game, but if the offense doesn’t produce some points it will be a long day. If the offense can do a little something this game will be close, but if they cannot our defense could be on the field too much (which results in them getting tired) and the score could get lop sided. I feel like our offense will do enough to stay into the game and it will come down to which quarterback doesn’t make a huge mistake and which defense is the one to force either quarterback into one.