Keys to the Game: Mountaineers need physicality, home field advantage vs. Hokies

Gold and Blue Nation

WVU head coach Neal Brown pats running back Leddie Brown on the back before their home opener against LIU at Milan Puskar Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021. (Photo: Jamie Green)

This is the game Mountaineer fans have been awaiting for years: the return of Virginia Tech to Milan Puskar Stadium.

Sure, WVU and Tech met in 2017, but that was at FedEx Field — this game is on the Mountaineers’ turf. While the fans know why this game matters so much, Neal Brown, his staff and players are learning the history of the series, they’ll understand when they take the field for the game. And in a game like this. the home field advantage could play a major factor and one the Mountaineers will need to use to their benefit.

WVU must also find a way to be more physical along the offensive line. Even in its 66-0 win over LIU, the offensive line struggled to get a push and control the line of scrimmage, and the Sharks came away with a pair of sacks. They will face a much stiffer challenge this week against the 15th-ranked Hokies — in their first two games, Tech has allowed just 212 yards on the ground. The ability to run the ball will help Jarrett Doege and the passing attack, as in their win over North Carolina the Hokies intercepted three passes.

Coach Brown is also still looking for better situational defense. The Mountaineer defensive line needs to find a way to be more physical and have a bigger impact on the game — in its win over LIU despite pitching the shut out the Mountaineer D had just 11 tackles for loss and two sacks.

In its first two games, WVU has used special teams to its advantage, especially the kick return unit and the explosive Winston Wright. Special teams was always something theHokies would hang their hat on, WVU needs to win that battle.

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