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Sunday, January 2, 2011
Discover Orange Bowl: 3 keys

By Heather Dinich

Here are three keys for Virginia Tech in the Discover Orange Bowl against Stanford:

1. Stop Stanford’s running game. That should be the first priority. The Cardinal has the No. 17 rushing offense in the country with an average of 211 yards per game. Standford didn’t miss a beat in replacing Toby Gerhart. The Cardinal have rushed for 2,532 yards this season – the second-highest total in school history. Stepfan Taylor leads the team with 85.2 yards per game.

2. Win the quarterback battle. Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor and Stanford’s Andrew Luck will take center stage in this game, but eventually, one will upstage the other. One of the reasons Luck has been so successful this year is because he’s had great protection. Stanford is tied with Air Force at No. 1 in sacks allowed with five. Virginia Tech is No. 22 in the country in sacks with 2.54 per game. Both quarterbacks can run. Luck’s 438 rushing yards is the highest single-season total by a Stanford quarterback. Taylor is the second-leading rusher for the Hokies with 637 yards and five touchdowns.

3. Continue red zone and third down defensive success. Virginia Tech’s defense will determine the Hokies’ fate in this game, and it will increase its chances of coming out on the winning end if it continues to make the key stops. Virginia Tech is No. 21 in the country in third down defense efficiency, and No. 21 in red zone efficiency defense. The Hokies need to continue that trend against one of the best quarterbacks and offenses in the country.