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After placing themselves is good contention for an ACC title berth with a huge upset over #4 Virginia Tech, the #11 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets' games only become bigger each week. Every Saturday becomes even more important if Georgia Tech (6-1, 4-1) wants the chance to play in a BCS bowl game.

This week's challenge at Virginia (3-3, 2-0) may be the most intriguing test left on the table. To Tech fans, that may be because of the fact that the Jackets haven't won in Charlottesville since 1990's triumph over the Cavaliers. Some feel it's a curse, however some believe Coach Paul Johnson will yet again reverse another streak for Georgia Tech. He and his staff will have to keep his team grounded after a big win, get them up to play at noon after playing in three consecutive night games, and keep them from thinking every game the rest of the way will be easy considering GT looks better than the rest of the teams they have left on the schedule. In my opinion, those tasks shouldn't be too hard for the coaching staff. This Tech team remembers being in good position last year before getting upset at home by Virginia. They understand what each game means.

This year's Virginia squad started out their season looking like a pushover losing at home to William & Mary, but they've won three straight in October including two ACC games on the road at North Carolina and Maryland. Early on in the Cavs' 0-3 start, they were struggling with turning the ball over multiple times. In the last three games combined they've only given up the ball one time and have taken it from the other team six times. Now Al Groh and his team find themselves atop the Coastal division standings at 2-0. It may only be two wins, but the undefeated mark puts them in the driver's seat.

Virginia Offense – Quarterback was a bit of a mystery earlier in the week. Nobody knew who would be the starting quarterback for the Cavaliers this Saturday. In their last game at Maryland, starter Jameel Sewell did not play the 4th quarter because of an undisclosed injury. The backup, Marc Verica, is capable and passed the ball effectively in UVA's win in Atlanta last season. You may see speedy receiver Vic Hall take a few snaps as well. He's rushed ten times and passed five attempts this season. However, Sewell was back at practice on Wednesday and should be ready to start for Virginia.

Senior running backs Mikell Simpson and Rashawn Jackson carry the rushing load for the team, but also will catch balls out of the backfield. Simpson didn't play last week because of a neck injury sustained the week before and he may not play again this weekend. Jackson stepped in last week rushing for 90 yards and catching four passes for 29 yards in his absence.

The receiving corps doesn't look like much to speak of. Sophomore Kris Burd leads the team in receiving and the aforementioned Vic Hall can impact a game. Freshmen wideouts Javaris Brown and Tim Smith can both hit big plays.

Virginia's offense as a whole has struggled this season and is currently 107th in the nation in total offense. They've really only showed promise in one game, the home game against Indiana where they gained over 500 yards.

Impact Player: RB #31 Rashawn Jackson – It's my belief if you want to beat this Georgia Tech team now, you better run the ball effectively. Virginia will likely be turning to the 245 lb Jackson (normally a fullback) to carry their load on the ground. A solid game from him should put the Cavaliers in the game.

Georgia Tech Offense – Quarterback Josh Nesbitt continues to make great decisions and hack away at defenses. In four straight wins, Tech is averaging over 444 yards of total offense per game. Some may have thought things were heading in a different direction while watching their first half against Virginia Tech. Penalties plagued drives making it almost impossible to move the ball for a first down. They really picked a great time to get shutout in the first quarter for the first time this year because the defense had their backs. It wasn't until Nesbitt's only completion of the game to Demariyus Thomas for 51 yards that things began to look more promising for the offense. That set up good field position, which led to a touchdown and 7-3 lead right before the end of the half. This seemed to have sparked things for GT, as they put on a clinic in the 2nd half gaining 272 yards on the ground. I don't foresee the Yellow Jackets letting up this Saturday, but their one mission will be to execute without making mistakes. It was the turnovers last year, which lost them the game against Virginia. That is also what Virginia has done well lately, cause turnovers.

Impact Player: A-back #18 Anthony Allen – The perimeter plays were effective in last season's game with Virginia as Roddy Jones ran for 75 yards on 11 carries. I project it will be Allen who makes the most of his carries this Saturday in Charlottesville. Not a hard projection, I know, since he averages over eleven yards per carry (32 for 367) this season.

Virginia Defense – This unit has carried Virginia on their three game win streak. Over that span, they've given up just over 243 yards per game and caused nine turnovers. The strength of the unit is the secondary. This group has Virginia at 7th in the nation in passing efficiency defense, 11th in total passing defense, and 21st in total defense. They have seven interceptions this season, but five in the last three games. Junior cornerback Ras-I Dowling who has 31 tackles, a sack, and an interception leads the secondary. Stopping the run isn't exactly Virginia's cup of tea, though. They showed the ability against North Carolina and Indiana, but weren't too spectacular the rest of the games. The Cavs are tough in the redzone, though. They haven't given up but one touchdown the last three games.

Impact Player: ILB #53 Steve Greer: The redshirt freshman starts on the inside in Virginia's 3-4 defense. He leads the team in tackles with 41 tackles and will be very important to his team if they want to shut down Paul Johnson's option attack.

Georgia Tech Defense – The year as a whole hasn't been the prettiest as far as GT defenses typically go. However, they probably played their most complete games of the year against one of their biggest challenges in Virginia Tech Saturday at home. Home field seems to be where the unit comes to play their best. In four games at Bobby Dodd Stadium, the Yellow Jackets are only giving up 291.3 yards per game. Away from Atlanta in three games, they are letting up a shockingly awful 493.3 yards per game. If this unit wants to make another statement, doing it this weekend away from home would definitely be something to build on. The one thing the defense has been able to do is get turnovers. They have eight interceptions and have recovered eight fumbles. The linebackers (Brad Jefferson, Steven Sylvester, and Sedric Griffin) all had big games against Virginia Tech and will need to repeat facing an elusive quarterback in Sewell and a stoutly built running back in Jackson. Tech could also use another solid game from their line, too, led by star Derrick Morgan. Morgan has 32 tackles, 10.5 for a loss, 7.5 sacks, and two fumble recoveries.

Impact Player: S #1 Morgan Burnett – The ball hawking All-American is having another very solid year (37 tkls, 4 int), but hasn't exactly stepped up like fans are used to seeing in the biggest games. I have a hunch Burnett will make the most of his opportunities this Saturday.

Summary:
The biggest key of the game to me is turnovers. Both teams have a knack for creating the big plays on defense. If one team can gain control of the ball and the clock, it could easily be the difference just like it was for Virginia in last year's game. Georgia Tech is the favorite to win and both teams have a lot to play for, the division lead among other things. Expect a hard fought game that may be surprisingly close. Can Coach Johnson break another streak and finally get the Jackets a win in Charlottesville? In games decided by 5 or less points, GT is 8-1 under their beloved coach.

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