Coming off a 38-21 win over Pittsburgh last Saturday night at Lane Stadium, the Virginia Tech football team is going to face their toughest test of the 2023 season this upcoming Saturday afternoon against fifth-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee.
The Seminoles are coming off of their bye week and will be itching to line up across from the Hokies and get back to prove to the rest of the ACC and the country that they are going to be reckoned with when it comes to the College Football Playoff.
The Hokies opened as a 25-point underdog and going into a tough environment. It’s hard to envision Tech coming away with a win, but anything is possible. Here are three essential keys to the game for second-year coach Brent Pry and his team to be competitive while looking out for the long-term and the rest of the season.
Virginia Tech needs to limit the big plays
It’s not a matter of if, but when Florida State will have some big plays. Quarterback Jordan Travis is one of the top QBs in the country and can create big plays with his arms and legs. Against Boston College, he was injured near the end of the first half, but returned in the second half and played a big role in FSU escaping Chestnut Hill with a two-point victory. A key to sticking around for the Hokies is how their defense plays and tries to limit the big plays. Easier said than done.
Virginia Tech needs to try and establish the run again
Against Pittsburgh, offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen committed to the run, and paid off with Bhayshul Tuten and Kyron Drones doing a lot of the damage. Tuten rushed 109 yards and Drones 41. Malachi Thomas also got some handoffs and Bowen worked some jet sweeps. Florida State has a fast defensive line that is going to cause problems for the Hokies’ offensive line, while their secondary makes plays will be waiting for a mistake from Drones. If ball control was ever going to be needed, this is the week.
Virginia Tech to get out of the game healthy
This might be the biggest key for the Hokies, getting out of Tallahassee healthy with no major or key injuries. Their depth is already being severely tested just five weeks into the season on both sides of the ball. They have slowly got some players back on both sides, but an injury or two to a key player could be devastating at this point in the season.
The first two are easier said than done, but you can count on one thing, Virginia Tech is going to show up and go toe to toe with one of the top teams in the country. Getting out of Tallahassee healthy might be the biggest win of the weekend for Pry and the Hokies.