The final push begins with the Saturday night showdown against third-placed Clemson at Lane Stadium. Virginia Tech (4-5, 4-4 ACC) tries to finish a three-game slide and beat the two-time college football playoff champions at Blacksburg, Va., For the first time since 2006.

“We have a chance to feel really good by the end of this season,” said Virginia Tech defensive tackle Jarrod Hewitt. “We had a tough couple of weeks. We have the chance of creating an upset that nobody believes we can make and we have our rival Virginia at home so it can be very memorable in the last two games. “

Before the Hokies turn their attention to reclaiming the Commonwealth Cup from Virginia in the regular season finale, they must battle the ACC’s top-ranked offense (45.5 points per game) with two Heisman Trophy competitors in quarterback Trevor Lawrence and in traffic jam Travis Etienne push through.

Suspected number 1 in the NFL draft, Lawrence leads the ACC in insults (330.9 yards per game) and passing efficiency (178.7), and is runner-up in touchdowns (19). He plays two fewer games than leader Sam Howell, the second quarterback for North Carolina.

Lawrence left 403 yards and two non-stop touchdowns during a bout against Pittsburgh last week (52-17) while not playing the entire game with the Tigers in control after the first quarter.

It was the first game in more than a month for the junior, who tested positive for the virus on October 28, forcing Lawrence to suspend two games. First he missed a win against Boston College (34:28) at Memorial Stadium on October 31, and a week later he didn’t play in Clemson’s only loss, 47:40 to Notre Dame on the street in double overtime.

“Every now and then you meet a man, or you see a man, or you get the chance to coach a man who you really say this guy can’t do,” said Hokies coach Justin Fuente Lawrence, praising his ability. to run when necessary, as well as his leadership skills.

Etienne, meanwhile, ranks second in the ACC on all-purpose courts (148.2 per game) and third in the conference on total touchdowns (15), despite missing long stretches this year and the result for Clemson is in the hand most of his games.

Last weekend, the senior had 11 carry for 58 yards and three catches for 20 yards, the lowest number of receiving yards in an ACC game this season. The double threat game breaker was an integral part of the Tigers’ temporary attack and has accumulated more than 100 yards in one game twice this season.

“Very dynamic in both running and passing,” said Hewitt of Etienne. “We have to be vigilant when he goes out of the way and things like that.”

Hewitt is an anchor in a defense that had the second worst start to the season in their last game. The only school to collect more yards against Virginia Tech that year was North Carolina (656).

The Hokies have had an open week with Fuente giving some older players a few days of welcome respite during Thanksgiving hiatus during a difficult season.

The final blow came when reserve quarterback Quincy Patterson II, a third-year student, announced to Fuente that he would enter the transfer portal. The only other player who entered the transfer portal in the side week was the broad recipient Darryle Simmons.

Patterson injured his right hand (throwing) hand in Virginia Tech’s last game and would have been dubious against Clemson, which Fuente said would have accelerated his decision to seek a transfer in order to have the opportunity to play more consistently.

Patterson fought for the starting place in the last two seasons, but ended up in third place on the depth map. This season he has stood behind Hendon Hooker and Braxton Burmeister, who, according to Fuente, have completely healed from three broken toes that have kept him away for most of the last month.

“Quincy knows how I feel about him and his people,” said Fuente. “We are ready to help him in any way we can. I’m sure when the news comes his phone will be blown up with lots of people trying to find out about him and our phones will be blown up too. We’ll only be able to say great things about him. “

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