Throughout the season, ACC defenses have maintained a numerical advantage against the pass and dared offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen and quarterback Ryan Willis into run checks. It's been a recipe for success against the Virginia Tech offense. Georgia Tech, Pitt, and Boston College contained the run despite showing the Hokies only six defenders in the box.
Marshall used a different strategy. The Thundering Herd made a commitment to shutting down the run by keeping eight or nine defenders in the box, especially when Virginia Tech featured two tight ends. Often during the first half, the boundary safety and Marshall's whip/outside linebacker hybrid slipped into the box while playing soft man coverage on the outside.
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