Mendenhall

Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall smiles as players celebrate a touchdown during a game earlier this season. 

Virginia

» Stay focused: Virginia leads the ACC Coastal Division thanks to a dramatic 38-31 road win over North Carolina to become bowl eligible. After playing in front of a packed house on Saturday night against Mack Brown’s team, UVa returns home for a 12:30 p.m. kickoff against 2-6 Georgia Tech. The Cavaliers are the better team, and they should win this game if they come out focused and execute well on both sides of the ball. If Virginia looks ahead or comes out flat for the early kickoff against a subpar team, the Yellow Jackets are capable of pulling the upset.

» Run the football: Georgia Tech’s defense ranks last in the ACC against the run, allowing more than 200 rushing yards per game. While the Cavaliers’ rushing attack struggles most of the time, this is the week for Bryce Perkins and Wayne Taulapapa to run wild. Eclipsing the 100-yard mark as a team is a must, and the Cavaliers should flirt with 200 rushing yards for the game.

» Stop the run: Georgia Tech ranks among the 10 worst passing offenses in the FBS, but the Yellow Jackets have found occasional success on the ground. Jordan Mason sits at sixth in the ACC in rushing yards per game, and he’s Georgia Tech’s best offensive weapon. If UVa shuts him down, the Yellow Jackets don’t have much else to offer.


Georgia Tech

» Make it ugly: Given its lack of offensive firepower, Georgia Tech is best suited for a defensive battle. The Yellow Jackets need to disrupt Bryce Perkins and force a few UVa turnovers. The Cavaliers clicked offensively last week, but they’ve shown inconsistency on offense. Georgia Tech needs to take the Cavaliers out of offensive rhythm to win a close, low-scoring affair.

» Contain UVa’s receivers: Hasise Dubois and Joe Reed remain stars at the wide receiver position. Terrell Jana snagged 13 receptions last week. If Georgia Tech wants to win, it needs to slow down UVa’s passing attack. That starts by blanketing Dubois, Jana and Reed in coverage.

» Showcase special teams improvement: The Yellow Jackets rank among the worst two teams in the conference in punt returns, net punting and field-goal kicking. Virginia boasts one of the nation’s best special teams units, led by Joe Reed at kick returner. Georgia Tech can’t afford to struggle on special teams.

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