Only two ACC opponents (Syracuse and North Carolina) held Etienne to fewer than 100 yards last year.
Lawrence, who is likely to be the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, has been equally productive. The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder didn’t look much like a typical underclassman as he’s thrown for 6,945 yards (65.5%) and 66 touchdowns.
Virginia Tech has played Clemson twice during coach Justin Fuente’s tenure. The Hokies lost, 31-17, in a 2017 regular season matchup at Lane Stadium. The teams also played in the 2016 ACC title game with Clemson prevailing 42-35. Tech came back from a 21-point deficit to get within a touchdown in the final six minutes.
N.C. State isn’t nearly as intimidating of an opponent, but the game comes with some intrigue.
Coach Dave Doeren revamped his coaching staff after going 4-8 (1-7 ACC) in 2019. He hired five new assistant coaches including former longtime Tech defensive line coach Charley Wiles and former Tech defensive backs coach Brian Mitchell in the same roles they had with the Hokies last season.
Wiles and Mitchell weren’t retained after Tech promoted Justin Hamilton to replace Bud Foster as the team’s defensive coordinator. Wiles had coached the team’s defensive line since 1996, and Mitchell had been on the staff since 2016.