ACC championship: Virginia Tech vs. Florida State
7:45 p.m., Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte.
TV: ESPN. Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM).
Records: Hokies 10-2, 8-0 ACC; Seminoles 9-3, 6-2.
Keep Tyrod Taylor upright: The last time these teams met, in 2008, Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor was knocked out of the game on the first play. Then backup Sean Glennon also was injured and, not surprisingly, the Hokies suffered a 30-20 loss. That's why keeping Taylor on the field this year is imperative, especially because Florida State leads the nation in sacks behind defensive ends Brandon Jenkins (12 sacks) and Markus White (7.5). Hokies left tackle Andrew Lanier and right tackle Blake DeChristopher will have their hands full, but in all three Seminoles losses this year, the opposing quarterback had a big game.
The running game: The Hokies have averaged more than 211 yards per game on the ground this year, but Florida State has given up just 123 yards rushing per game, third best in the ACC. The Seminoles have three primary running backs who have averaged 5.7 or more yards per carry, but only one will enter this game 100 percent healthy (Chris Thompson). It would seem that whichever team can establish its running game would have the advantage given the relative equality between Taylor and Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder.
More turnovers, please: Virginia Tech continues to lead the country in turnover margin(plus-16), and the Hokies would be wise to win that battle again Saturday. Florida State has just 20 turnovers this season, but giveaways have been the biggest catalyst during Virginia Tech's 10-game winning streak. The Hokies are tied for second in the country with 20 interceptions and have forced 14 turnovers in the past four games alone. Ponder, meanwhile, has had eight games during his career with multiple interceptions - two of which came this season.
- Mark Giannotto