The Virginia Tech Hokies and Clemson Tigers met two months ago, but now the stakes are larger and the teams are moving in opposite directions.
When the two football clubs meet again on Saturday for the 2011 ACC Championship, Virginia Tech will be the streaking favorites and Clemson the limping conference power nursing a two-game losing streak.
Virginia Tech has not lost since falling to Clemson, 23-3, in early October. Since then, the Hokies have rattled off seven straight wins, the most recent a 38-0 domination of then-No. 24 Virginia.
"(The Clemson loss) was a wake-up call. After that game, we were like, 'This is ACC play,' " Hokies senior free safety Eddie Whitley said. "Obviously, we knew how it was going to be, but I guess we got caught off guard a little bit.
"But after that, everybody woke up, and we knew what we had to do for the rest of the season, and that's why we've been winning since."
Clemson is traveling in the opposite direction. The Tigers won another three straight immediately following the victory against Virginia Tech, but have since lost three out of four, all losses by double digits.
"We've just not done some of the things well that we were doing well," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "We're missing some plays, we're not protecting quite as well, and there's a combination of things. We've got a few guys that aren't playing quite as well as maybe they played earlier in the season."
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