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THE COLUMN: Virginia vs. Louisville Complete Preview

Cville vs. Lville

TIME: 12:30 PM (EST)

DATE: September 22nd, 2018

LOCATION: Scott Stadium | Charlottesville, VA


The Lowdown

Whenever I think about the University of Louisville football program, I am always reminded of the one time they rocked Olde English font on the back on their jerseys and paired it with an airbrushed cardinal on their helmets. I mean, it was something customizable straight from a Jersey Shore boardwalk kiosk where you only will stop in to try on some wacky sunglasses for fun. I remember turning on my television and having so many questions like “Why?” and “But, really, why?”

Auburn v Louisville
These glorious jerseys were only worn once.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

For the last couple years, the media and college football fans have been intensely watching Louisville football for their star quarterback, Lamar Jackson. Earlier this year, the 2016 Heisman Award winner was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft and Louisville officially started a new chapter in their books. Everyone expected this to be a tough rebuild for the Cardinals and the beginning of the season has proven it to be so for Head Coach Bobby Petrino. Louisville opened up against the season against No. 1 Alabama and got trounced. No problem there. The second week, the Cardinals struggled against FCS Indiana State and had to win the game with their backup quarterback. Last week, they almost dropped a game against Western Kentucky University and ended up playing their backup quarterback again.

Virginia is favored on Saturday (albeit at home) to beat Louisville, which probably would not have been most people’s predictions in the beginning of the year. Even though the Cavaliers took care of business against Ohio last week, they still are figuring out to optimize their offense under Bryce Perkins. Perhaps their home opener will be the perfect opportunity to make a statement win as they roll into ACC play.

The Statistics

from Danny Neckel

The Good

Category UVA Category Louisville
Category UVA Category Louisville
3rd Down Offense 13th (54.8%) 3rd Down Defense 117th (46.9%)
Avg. Yards Allowed 41st (325) Avg. Yards Gained 119th (307)
Rushing Offense 37th (220) Rushing Defense 96th (118)

The Bad

Category UVA Category Louisville
Category UVA Category Louisville
Passing Offense 73rd (225) Passing Defense 56th (198)
Sacks Allowed 85th (2.3) Team Sacks 75th (1.6)

Hoo’s Hoo?

Virginia Cavaliers

Joe Reed, WR

Last year, Joe Reed was an elite kick returner. He was first in the ACC and eighth in the country with 29.7 yards per kick return. However, opposing teams have realized the big-play ability of Reed. Richmond and Ohio elected against kicking it to Reed, while Indiana did kick to him four times. There’s no doubt that Reed can have a big impact on special teams, but will have to wait to see if Louisville will give him a chance.

Virginia Cavaliers

Chris Peace, OLB

Now a fourth-year, Chris Peace is one of the stalwarts in Virginia’s defense. Last year, Peace had a solid year as he finished fifth in the ACC with 7.5 sacks. Those 7.5 sacks were also good for most by any linebacker in the ACC. This year, Peace has also stepped into a larger leadership role as one of three team captains. As a leader of the linebackers, Peace will be needed as a consistent tackler and sacker for the Wahoos.

Virginia Cavaliers

Brenton Nelson, CB

The former walk-on to 2017 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year is undoubtedly a Charlottesville favorite. His wondrous 17-18 campaign featured four interceptions and 64 tackles. While Nelson proved himself last year, he’ll have to take on a larger role as he becomes a staple of Virginia’s secondary unit that graduated Quin Blanding. Virginia’s secondary is decently deep this year and Nelson will be one of it’s main pieces.

Louisville Cardinals

Malik Cunningham, QB

Back-up quarterback Malik Cunningham came in for Jawon Pass last week against Western Kentucky and rallied Louisville to a 20-17 win. Pass originally started the game but was benched in the second quarter. Cunningham, whose play resembles that of Lamar Jackson more than Pass, ending up throwing for 88 yards and rushing for 129 yards. On Tuesday, Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino elected to start Cunningham on Saturday.

Louisville Cardinals

Tabarious Peterson, LB

During Louisville’s season opener against Alabama, team captain Jonathan Greenard went down with a wrist injury. Greenard will be out indefinitely and without one of their main pass rushers, the Cardinals look to Peterson to step up. He currently leads the Cardinals in total tackles, with 20. Look the redshirt sophomore to one of the main disruptors in the Louisville defense on Saturday.

Louisville Cardinals

Dae Williams, RB

Dae Williams debuted for Louisville last year but unfortunately tore his ACL in the preseason. While not a highly touted prospect out of high school, Williams is expected to shoulder the load for the Cardinals’ running game this year. Last week, he rushed for only 58 yards but also had two touchdowns.


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