TIME: 3:30 PM (EST)
DATE: October 19th, 2019
LOCATION: Scott Stadium | Charlottesville, VA
HOW TO WATCH: ESPN
Well, last week wasn’t so pretty. At Miami, a dreadful red-zone performance coupled with an inept running game ultimately sank the Hoos. Along with the season ending injury for Bryce Hall, it was a game that Virginia fans will probably want to forget. Now unranked and sitting at 4-2, the Cavaliers heads into a much needed home game.
This week, Bronco Mendenhall will prepare his players to face off against the Duke Blue Devils. The Sagarin rankings in which the Hoos are 38th also ranks the Blue Devils at 42nd. Miami was ranked 44th in last week’s contest. While Virginia fans hoped that the team would prove that it was an upper tier ACC team by now, the Cavaliers haven’t quite shown that they’ve pulled away from the hodgepodge that is the all the non-Clemson teams.
Virginia’s glaring issues were present big time against Miami and will be the main things to watch against Duke. Namely, Virginia’s rushing offense has been nonexistent. They currently are ranked 123rd in the country, averaging only 102 yards a game. Without a mildly established running game, Virginia has relied on a one-dimensional passing offense that has left Bryce Perkins to try and do it all. Duke is modestly ranked 61st in passing defense and 48th in rushing defense.
Fans will be eagerly watching this game to see if Virginia can fix some of the issues the the offense has had all year long. As the Hoos head into the most crucial stretch of its schedule against Duke, North Carolina, and Louisville, the team will look to start off strong as they try to steer the ship to a bowl game and a possible ACC Coastal title.
from Danny Neckel
Duke is not great at passing...UVA is not great at running
Nick Grant, CB
With star cornerback Bryce Hall out for the rest of the season, there will undoubtedly be questions about Virginia’s secondary. While Hall’s injury is awful news, the silver lining is that the Cavaliers have capable cornerbacks to fill his gap. One such player will be third-year Nick Grant who has been playing well all season. The cornerback has compiled 23 tackles, five passes defended, and one interception for a touchdown.
Wayne Taulapapa, RB
Virginia’s rushing game has been dismal all year. Second-year Wayne Taulapapa has not been much a factor for the Hoos. This season, he has only amassed 210 yards in 57 carries. This is only made worse by Bryce Perkins being the second leading rusher on team, with 191 yards on 84 carries. Offensive Coordinator Robert Anae has to figure out a way to make Virginia’s run game more dynamic.
Noah Taylor, LB
Second-year Noah Taylor has become a real defensive force for the Hoos. The 6’ 5” linebacker has compiled five sacks and 23 total tackles so far. Due to the play of Taylor and others, the Hoos have been extremely stout on defense. Virginia boasts the 11th best run defense and is also 11th in yards defended. While Jordan Mack is the team’s premier linebacker, Taylor has shown all the signs to become an elite player and will be an important fixture for the Hoos this year and beyond.
Duke Blue Devils
Quentin Harris, QB
Gone is former Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, although Virginia fans will fondly remember the woes he had playing against the Hoos. Stepping in to assume the reigns is Quentin Harris. As a senior, Harris experience has already shown for the Blue Devils. So far on the season, he has thrown for 1,183 yards and rushed for 380 yards. Harris has also has 11 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns.
Duke Blue Devils
Deon Jackson, RB
Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe actually has been deploying two running backs this year. Deon Jackson and Mataeo Durant have each carried a fair share of the Blue Devils’ rushing offense. Jackson, with 93 rushing attempts, has been the primary back and is their go-to in the red zone. Duke has experimented with the triple-option offense a little bit this year and the scheme could appear on Saturday.
Duke Blue Devils
Koby Quansah, LB
Senior Koby Quansah has been great for the Blue Devils all year long. He leads the team with 59 total tackles, 20 of those being solo tackles. Alongside fellow linebacker Brandon Hill, Duke’s interior defense is nothing to scoff at. They are 48th in nation at rushing yards allowed, which will make Virginia’s attempt to establish a rushing game that much harder.
This poll is closed