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From the Upper Deck: Hoos Roll in win over Yellow Jackets

In a game they had to win, Virginia stepped up big time. The offense controlled the clock while the defense stifled the Georgia Tech running game. Let's see how this one looked From the Upper Deck.

Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it, here were the keys to the game laid out on Thursday going into Virginia's matchup with Georgia Tech. If there is a blueprint to how you beat the Yellow Jackets, the Hoos executed it perfectly.  Every advantage that the Triple Option gives an offense was minimized by the stellar defense of Virginia.  And the offense did it's part, sustaining drives and converting on chances to score.  Here are how the keys to the game played out, From the Upper Deck.

1) Limit the Dive Play: While it doesn't really show up in the box score, this could be seen as one of the biggest reasons why the Hoos were able to come out victorious.  It is hard to discern how many yards were gained via the dive, via the QB keeper, or via the pitch.  However, it is easy to say that Virginia held the Jackets to only 23:17 in time of possession, only six first downs rushing, and only 5 of 13 on third down.  All three of those stats are directly attributable to the fact that Virginia kept Georgia Tech out of third and short. And third and short is exactly what the triple option is trying to accomplish, ticking off 3-4 yards per rush up the middle.

2) Keep the Ball in Front: Analysis of this key to the game is going to be a little unfair to the Virginia defense.  In the end, they weren't exactly successful as they gave up touchdown passes of 30 and 22 yards. In addition 12 of Georgia Tech's 13 completions went for over 10 yards. All that being said, Georgia Tech beats you with the pass when you least expect it, taking advantage of the defense selling out to stop the run.  The fact that the Virginia secondary even had to defend against 31 pass attempts is a testament to the all-around effort the Hoos defense gave.  In this sense, giving up couple big plays can be forgiven.

3) Limit Turnovers: As discussed with in the opening, if there is a blueprint for defending against the triple option the offense too, executed perfectly. They ran for 233 yards, possessed the ball for 36:43, scored on almost half of their possessions, and only turned the ball over one time.  The offense controlled the game, keeping the Georgia Tech offense off the field, and scoring enough to make them play from behind for much of the game. They won the turnover battle 2-1, which proved a major improvement from last week.

Virginia put forth a complete effort on Saturday. An effort that hopefully is a sign of a strong finish to the season.  The win brings the Hoo's record to 3-5 on the year and 2-2 in the ACC.  They have another big test next week against the Miami Hurricanes.  It's still an uphill climb to bowl eligibility, but with the way Virginia played today, that is not impossible.