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THE COLUMN: Virginia at Duke Complete Preview

Hoos vs. Dook

TIME: 12:30 PM (EST)

DATE: October 20th, 2018

LOCATION: Wallace Wade Stadium | Durham, NC


The Lowdown

Last week, the Hoos got a statement win over the ranked Miami Hurricanes in a primetime Homecomings matchup. The game was marred by sloppiness, as Bryce Perkins threw three picks and Miami consistently shot themselves in the foot in situations where they could have swung the momentum. If it weren’t for Brian Delaney kicking three field goals and an amazing defensive play from Bryce Hall, the game could have easily ended differently. But, Virginia showed heart and determination throughout the whole game and were able to fight off the Hurricanes. The win felt, in many ways, like the manifestation of the #NewStandard mentality: the players were dancing, the crowd was into it, and the energy was all positive.

Halfway through the season, Virginia sits on 4-2 and is only two wins away from securing a second-consecutive bowl game appearance. This week, Bronco and the Boys will take a trip down to Tobacco Road looking for another win. Currently at 5-1, Duke is having another strong season lead by junior quarterback Daniel Jones. Interestingly though, Mendenhall has had Duke’s number and has not lost to the Blue Devils since taking over at Virginia. In their 2016 matchup, Jones threw for five interceptions...will this year’s iteration be another win for the Hoos?

The Statistics

from Danny Neckel

The Good

Category UVA Category Duke
Category UVA Category Duke
Yards Defense 25th (327) Yards Offense 83rd (390)
Passing Defense 34th (197) Passing Offense 82nd (215.5)
3rd Down Offense 16th (48.1%) 3rd Down Defense 59th (37.9%)

The Bad

Category UVA Category Duke
Category UVA Category Duke
Scoring Offense 76th (27.8) Scoring Defense 20th (17.7)
Yards Offense 85th (368.8) Yards Defense 38th (350)
Passing Offense 97th (203.8) Passing Defense 48th (209.5)

Hoo’s Hoo?

Virginia Cavaliers

Bryce Hall, CB

The best play last week wasn’t a touchdown or turnover but perhaps Bryce Hall’s track down of Miami RB Travis Homer. Not only was it a touchdown-saving play but showed competition and heart in Hall, who is now a third-year. By-the-way, he was clocked at 22.3 mph (!!) on that play. Hall has been a steady presence for the Hoos on the season and is an even more integral leader for the improving defensive corps.

Virginia Cavaliers

Zane Zandier, LB

Besides having maybe the best nickname on the team, ZZ Stop, Zane Zandier has stepped in big time for the Cavaliers. After starting LB Malcolm Cook went down with an injury in the beginning of the year, Zandier had to step in. His role was tested even more when top-tackler Jordan Mack was ruled out for six-weeks after Virginia’s game against Louisville. Even with Cook now back, look for ZZ to be a consistent fixture in the Hoos defense.

Virginia Cavaliers

Evan Butts, TE

Now a fourth-year, Evan Butts has had a pretty quiet year so far. Last year, he had a modest season - finishing with 266 receiving yards and two touchdowns. This year, he only has 69 receiving yards through six games. With most of the team’s receptions split between Zaccheaus and Dubois, there’s a need for another go-to option for Perkins. Especially in the red zone, look for Butts to possibly get more looks.

Duke Blue Devils

Daniel Jones, QB

Junior Daniel Jones could end up being a first-round pick next year in the NFL Draft. He opened this season as one of only two active QBs nationally with 5,500+ passing yards and 1,000+ rushing yards. However, Jones has struggled against Virginia. He hasn’t beaten UVa in the Bronco Mendenhall era and has thrown for seven picks and two touchdowns in his two previous matchups.

Duke Blue Devils

Deon Jackson, RB

While sophomore Deon Jackson is being featured here, Duke really uses two running backs each week with Brittain Brown being the other. Duke has had success with the Jackson-Brown tandem so far, with them combining for 672 rushing yards on the year. Jackson has had 80 carries and five touchdowns and Brown has had 62 carries and two touchdowns so far. Look for a heavy dosage of both backs this Saturday.

Duke Blue Devils

Joe Giles-Harris, LB

The Blue Devils owe a lot to their defense for their 5-1 start on the year. Their defense has been stout and they are currently ranked 20th in the country for points allowed (17.7). Their linebacker corps is particularly notable as both junior Joe Giles-Harris and senior Ben Humpheys entered the 2018 season as one of eight active players nationally with 200+ tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and 8+ sacks. Look for Giles-Harris to be everywhere on Saturday.


Red or green grapes?

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