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"Third-and-Logan" Could Be Difference in Hokies' ACC Championship Game Rematch with Clemson

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All week we've been discussing how Virginia Tech's offense has changed since the last time the Hokies faced Clemson. Well, I'm back with some stats to back it up.

In the first five games of the season, Logan Thomas registered 32 of his 112 carries (with sacks removed). Some of that was due to the shoulder injury he suffered early against Marshall that may have caused the coaches to not call as many designed runs as they would have otherwise. What's even more telling is when you look at the Hokies' play calling on third-and short.

In the first five games, only five of the 25 plays Tech ran on third and short (three or fewer yards to go) were runs by Thomas according to my math. Since then? Thomas has carried the ball on 18 of Tech's 27 third-and short attempts. Of his 23 carries on third-and-short this year, 22 have resulted in a first down.

The maturation of the QB run game has been a large part of Virginia Tech's success this year, particularly on third down. The Hokies converted on 43 percent of their third downs through the first three games, but in the last seven it's been almost right at 50 percent. That may not seem like a big difference, but only one team (Georgia Tech) has converted over 50 percent this year in the ACC. It means more sustained drives and a higher success rate on offense.

With a healthy Thomas and a better QB run game, the Hokies can fix what was their biggest problem against Clemson. Tech converted on only four of 16 third-down conversions and only four of their third-down attempts were third-and-short in that game. If the Hokies can get into manageable third downs Saturday against Clemson, I like their odds of knocking off the Tigers.

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