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No. 23 Hokies, Cavaliers clash for ACC’s Coastal title

November 27, 2019 GMT
Virginia Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker (2) attempts to elude Pittsburgh defender Patrick Jones II (91) in the forth quarter of an NCAA college football game in Blacksburg Va. Saturday, Nov. 23 2019. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Virginia Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker (2) attempts to elude Pittsburgh defender Patrick Jones II (91) in the forth quarter of an NCAA college football game in Blacksburg Va. Saturday, Nov. 23 2019. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

No. 23 Virginia Tech (8-3, 5-2 ACC, No. 24 CFP) at Virginia (8-3, 5-2), Friday at 12 p.m. EST (ABC).

Line: Virginia Tech by 3.

Series record: Virginia Tech leads 58-37-5.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The Coastal Division title. The winner moves on to play No. 3 Clemson in the ACC title game on Dec. 7 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

KEY MATCHUP

Virginia Tech tight end James Mitchell against the Virginia defense. The Hokies have used Mitchell in numerous unconventional ways that highlight his athleticism and if they can catch the Cavaliers expecting the obvious, the athletic Mitchell could provide the key play that tips the scales in the Hokies’ favor.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Virginia Tech: Linebacker Rayshard Ashby has been named linebacker of the week in the ACC five times this season and his next tackle will be No. 100. He’ll be critical to the Hokies’ ability to shut down not only Virginia’s traditional running game, but the scrambling of dual-threat QB Bryce Perkins.

Virginia: CB Heskin Smith. He was often called on to defend Liberty’s top receiver in his first extended action in an injury-depleted secondary last week and held his own. He’ll likely face another tall task in matching up with the Hokies’ Damon Hazleton, whose 23 receptions include a Hokies-best seven for touchdowns.

FACTS & FIGURES

The Hokies have won 15 straight in the series, the longest streak among programs in an FBS in-state rivalry game. ... Virginia Tech is 6-0 in games started by QB Hendon Hooker. ... These teams have met twice previously with the division title on the line, and the Hokies won both, in 2007 and ’11. ... The Hokies are seeking their third consecutive shutout. The last ACC team to have two straight was Maryland in 1978. ... The Cavaliers are the only Coastal Division member that has not won the division. ... QB Bryce Perkins leads the ACC with 3,161 yards and is 16th nationally. ... Virginia led 31-24 after a field goal with 2:41 left in last year’s game before the Hokies rallied with a touchdown 50 seconds later to force overtime. An overtime field goal by Virginia Tech and lost fumble by the Cavaliers completed the game.

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