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THE COLUMN: Virginia at Louisville Complete Preview

Post-bowl qualifying Virginia faces Louisville


TIME: 3:30 PM (EST)

DATE: November 11th, 2017

LOCATION: Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium - Louisville, KY




by Paul Wiley

HOLY BOWLY! That grand majestic howling you heard through the wind and cold and rain over Charlottesville last week was an entire fanbase erupting in joy as their Cavaliers officially set down a marker that the rebuild is back on track. With six wins in hand, a still-young program will now get extra practices, a significant morale boost, and a national stage to showcase the #NewStandard brand.

But can there be more than six? The closing stretch of UVA's schedule is daunting indeed, starting with the Fightin' Lamar Jacksons of Luhvull. The Hoos played the Cards tight in Charlottesville last year, and—outside of Jackson—Petrino's squad has been nothing special in 2017. We've seen Virginia respond to adversity. Now how do they respond to success? This showdown will tell which program has the better ingredients for victory.


Provided by Danny Neckel

The Good For UVA

Category UVA Category Navy
Category UVA Category Navy
Passing Defense 15th (179.6) Passing Offense 128th (83.8)
Turnovers Lost 41st (16) Turnovers Gained 109th (13)
3rd Down Offense 68th (39.8%) 3rd Down Defense 101st (43.5%)

The Not So Good For UVA

Category UVA Category Navy
Category UVA Category Navy
Team Sacks 50th (2.5) Sacks Allowed 6th (1)
Rushing Defense 81st (178.3) Rushing Offense 2nd (343)
Rushing Offense 125th (98.8) Rushing Defense 65th (164.9)


Micah Kiser
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Micah Kiser - ILB

Virginia’s star linebacker had one of his best games of the season against Georgia Tech, last week. He amassed 18 total tackles and did a great job to contain TaQuon Marshall. On the year, Kiser is fourth in the country in tackles with 97. This week, the fourth-year will be tasked with spying on Lamar Jackson. Such a task is nothing short of a tall order and a 100% healthy Kiser will be a critical key.

Joe Reed
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Reed - WR

Due to his performance against Georgia Tech, Joe Reed was named ACC Specialist of the Week. He was spectacular, gaining 208 yards against with 170 of those in kick return yardage. Reed’s 92-yard kick return for a touchdown was the eighth-longest kick return in UVA history. This could be an anomaly though . . . can he pose a threat for Louisville?

Lester Coleman
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Lester Coleman - P

ANOTHER special teamer! While Joe Reed was good, the man with neon shoe was arguably better. Last week, he dropped three punts inside the 10, two of which were inside the five. In addition, Coleman had another four punts drop inside the 20. #47 has emerged as a legitimate weapon for the Hoos and will be critical this week for the Cavaliers to have good field positioning.

Lamar Jackson
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Lamar Jackson - QB

Who else could it be? Jackson, the reigning Heisman Trophy award winner, is an electrifying player and the dual threat will undoubtably be the main focus for Bronco Mendenhall. With the Cardinals being 5-4 on the year, it’s highly unlikely that the QB will win the Heisman again but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t lit it up this season. So far, he has 18 passing and 14 rushing touchdowns. Last year, the Wahoos couldn’t stop Jackson in the fourth quarter and there are plenty of signs that this game might come down to asking that same question.

Jaire Alexander
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Jaire Alexander - CB

Alexander, a preseason AP All-American, has been sidelined for much of Louisville 2017 campaign due to a couple of injuries. Last year, the star cornerback recorded five interceptions. This week, Alexander might have a chance to go, which could be a huge difference maker. If he is in - and healthy - Alexander could pose huge problems by shutting down Olamide Zaccheaus or. Doni Dowling.

Dez Fitzpatrick
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Dez Fitzpatrick - WR

Jaylen Smith is Lamar Jackson’s go-to guy. For three weeks, Smith was out which gave Freshman Dez Fitzpatrick his opportunity to burst onto the scene for the Cardinals. Currently, Fitzpatrick has 610 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Smith has only two touchdowns. Keep an eye out for who Jackson seems to be favoring more as that Virginia cornerback match-up will be key.



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11/11/1950: UVa vs. W&M | UVA Won 13-0