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THE COLUMN: Virginia vs. Duke Complete Preview

Virginia vs. Duke...IN FOOTBALL


TIME: 12:20 PM (EST)

DATE: October 7th, 2017

LOCATION: Scott Stadium - Charlottesville, VA




by Paul Wiley

It's time for another classic Duke-Virginia matchup, with all the memories that brings. Adam Hall dunking right on top of Shane Battier's wrinkly head. Singletary's floater over Josh McRoberts. The 2014 ACC Tournament...

Wait. No. Something's different this year. We might be counting the days to basketball, but we're not JUST counting the days to basketball. There's real, honest-to-God, meaningful football being played in Scott Stadium in October. This is new. We like this. We're good with this being a new normal.

And turns out, there are some pretty sweet memories from THIS kind of Duke-Virginia matchup too. Jordan Mack ought to be licking his chops for another shot at Daniel Jones, while Bryce Hall will look to continue adding to his career interception tally that began with two last year in Durham. But David Cutcliffe has feasted on Virginia's weakest years (6-3 vs UVA since 2008). Can the Cavaliers slay more demons—well, Devils—after a big road win in Boise?


Provided by Danny Neckel


Jordan Ellis
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Ellis - RB

Ellis is really making a name for himself. He rushed for 95 yards and one touchdown against UConn and then followed it up with 93 yards and two touchdowns at Boise State. Notably, Kurt Benkert attempted 29 passes against Boise State, in stark contrast to the 66 attempts he had against Indiana. Ellis’ success will allow Coach Bronco Mendenhall to diversify his play calling and fans have to be excited at the thought of Virginia having a decent run game to accompany the passing game.

Jordan Mack
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Jordan Mack - LB

You might remember THIS hit by Jordan Mack on Duke quarterback Daniel Jones last year. Will it happen again this year? Probably not, but it’s as good as anytime to reminisce on that play. Regardless, Mack has emerged as a constant at the inside linebacker position. Against Indiana, he recorded a team-high 16 tackles and expect him to be holding down the inside of Virginia’s defense on Saturday.

A.J. Mejia
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Mejia - K

The kicker!!! First-year A.J. Mejia has appeared in all four of the Hoos’ games this year but has only attempted three field goals. He is 2/3 on those, missing on a 42 yard attempt against William & Mary. Field goals have largely not mattered in Virginia’s wins but as the Hoos move into ACC play, one would have to imagine that Mejia’s performance could be a game-deciding factor.

Shaun Wilson
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Shaun Wilson - RB

Senior Shaun Wilson has been an extremely consistent running back for Duke over the last four years. He rushed for 598 yards as a freshman, 424 as a sophomore, and 623 as a junior. This year, he has already amassed 412 yards and five touchdowns. While these numbers may not be eye-popping, Wilson is a constant fixture in the Duke offense. Expect him to get plenty of carries, as well as potential targets in the passing game.

Daniel Jones
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Jones - QB

We, of course, have to feature the opponent’s team QB. While redshirt sophomore quarterback Daniel Jones might have a plain-jane name, his passing abilities aren’t plain. Last year he threw for 2,836 yards and sixteen touchdowns alongside 486 rushing yards with seven rushing touchdowns. Even though the Blue Devils went 4-8 last season, they look much stronger this season with a more seasoned Jones at the helm.

Bryon Fields Jr.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Bryon Fields Jr. - CB

Right now, Fields Jr. is tied for fourth in the FBS in interceptions, with three. He also returned two of those for touchdowns. Virginia quarterback, Kurt Benkert is having a great season so far, but will have to watch out throwing towards Fields. Jr. Look for the cornerback to be matched up on Andre Levrone.




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10/27/1951 - Virginia beat Duke, 30-7