ORLANDO, Fla. (WSLS 10) – We are now just two days away from the match up between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Clemson Tigers in the ACC Championship game.
The teams hit the gridiron this Saturday at 8 p.m. Orlando, Florida.
Virginia Tech is playing the number three team in the country in Clemson and their quarterback, Deshaun Watson is one of the biggest weapons on that team. He was a Heisman finalist last year, is again on the Heisman watch this year and is someone who the Hokies need to contain.
Watson leads the ACC with 3,626 passing yards and 34 touchdowns. In 2015, he led his team to the College Football Playoffs and to a National Championship appearance. This year, he has led the Tigers to an 11-1 season and another ACC title would help in his campaign to return to New York City as one of the 3 Heisman trophy finalists.
“I had a great time last year, meeting all the former Heisman winners and all the people that are part of that whole weekend. We had a blast, regardless of the results. Of course I want to get back there, but it’s up to the voters,” said Watson.
“You see obviously a talented player in Deshaun. I think we have been able to get at the quarterback at certain instances in the season as much as you can get back there. It’s a benefit for the team. I think our biggest challenge comes this weekend and that’s easy to see,” said Virginia Tech defensive tackle Woody Baron.
In all three of Virginia Tech’s losses, the Hokies have had trouble with dual-threat quarterbacks and Watson is the better than any quarterback they’ve seen yet.
While Watson has received a lot of attention in this match-up, flying under the radar is Hokies QB Jerod Evans, a junior college transfer, who so far, has lived up to his expectations.
In his first season at Virginia Tech, Evans has thrown for 3,039 yards and 26 touchdowns. He’s set single-season records for most passing touchdowns and total offense. Considering the company he’s in at that position, with Tyrod Taylor and Michael Vick, that’s no easy feat.
Playing in the ACC title game will be his biggest stage yet.
“I had high expectations for this team. Coming in like you said, looking at the talent getting recruited, I knew we had a great defense and knew we had weapons on offense. And that was the goal, to do what we just did,” said Evans.
“When he got here, we had high expectations for him, and he had high expectations for himself. So we knew coming in that he would be a special talent,” explained Hokies wide receiver Isaiah Ford.
“Offensively, it all goes through #4, their quarterback, and he is a very good football player. Big, strong, physical guy, they’re a spread power team with great tempo,” said Clemson head coach Dab Swinney.
Evans told his team when he first got to Blacksburg that if he did get the starting job, he would dedicate this season to the seniors and helping get those seniors to the championship for the first time.