BLACKSBURG, Va. – Leaving the past, in the past. That's the motto for the Virginia Tech Hokies as they prepare for an ACC Championship rematch against Clemson, to open conference play.
"We're thinking of it as just another game. It has everything behind it and all that but it's just one conference game, and that's all it really stands for at the end of the day," said Hokies quarterback Josh Jackson.
A lot has changed since last years ACC title game, where a late turnover prevented the Hokies from completing a comeback. Rather than reminiscing on the loss, Tech is preparing to face one of the most physical defensive lines in the nation, that has 17 sacks through four games.
"The way they work with each other then I'd say their size and athleticism. All of them are very athletic and rangy, able to get their hands on people," said Hokies center Eric Gallo.
Tech's defense will have a challenge on their hands as well. Junior quarterback Kelly Bryant has picked up where Deshaun Watson left off at Clemson. He's passed for more than 800 yards and rushed for 268 this season. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster said what Clemson does offensively, is similar to what the Hokies try to execute.
"We're working really hard trying to see where we can make sure we get that proper fit because they're like our offense a lot of ways," Foster said.
"They'll see what you're giving them, then they're going to try to attack it the other way, whether it's with quarterback counters or quarterback powers."
Saturday's game will be the first time two Top 12 undefeated teams, will meet here in Lane Stadium.