ACC foes Louisville, Virginia Tech search for consistency

Atlantic Coast Conference counterparts Virginia Tech and Louisville meet Saturday at Cardinal Stadium aiming to avoid falling out of the conference race.The Cardinals and Hokies were picked fourth and fifth in the preseason ACC poll, but have experienced ups and downs through the first half of the 2020 season.Visiting Virginia Tech (3-2, 3-2 ACC) is coming off a 23-16 loss last week at Wake Forest. The defeat was the second in three outings for the Hokies.On Oct. 10 at North Carolina, Virginia Tech dug a 21-0 first-quarter hole, then fell behind 42-17 early in the third quarter before rolling off 28 points in just 15:38 and trimming the deficit to as few as five points. The 56 points the Hokies gave up was their worst showing since 2002.The Hokies’ defense was much improved in holding Boston College and Wake Forest to a combined 37 points. But scoring just one touchdown against the Demon Deacons revealed another issue for the Hokies.Quarterback Hendon Hooker threw three interceptions in the loss, including a red-zone pick just before halftime that cost Virginia Tech critical points.”Those things happen,” Hokies coach Justin Fuente said in his Monday press conference. “You’ve got to be able to shake those things off and go respond and play the next play. We did turn the ball over three things, which is not good. We’ve got to try to find a way to win the turnover battle, or it’s going to be the same thing this week.”Louisville (2-4, 1-4) allowed 46 points to Georgia Tech on Oct. 9 then scored just seven points while holding Notre Dame to 12 the next time out.The Cardinals look to build off the stronger showing against Florida State. Louisville rolled to a 48-16 win, snapping a four-game losing streak in the process.”Over the last two weeks, we’ve gone out and played pretty [well],” Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said in his Monday press conference, citing improved practices during that time. “We didn’t win [against] Notre Dame, but we beat Florida State. We’ve got to have that same approach and bring that every single week to give ourselves a chance to play [well] on Saturday.”