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THE COLUMN: Virginia at Louisville Complete Preview

TIME: 3:30 PM (EST)

DATE: October 26th, 2019

LOCATION: Cardinal Stadium | Louisville, KY


The Lowdown

The Hoos got back on track last week in their 48-14 rout of Duke. Despite a somewhat slow start, Virginia eventually got their offense going in the second quarter and subsequently went on a 27-0 scoring run. Fueled by their defense, the Cavaliers capitalized off five Duke turnovers and had perhaps their best performance of the year.

Now back in control of the Coastal Division, Virginia goes back on the road this week to face off against Louisville. This also serves as the yearly reminder to resurrect Louisville’s absolutely atrocious uniforms from 2015 - I still have so many questions around why they thought that was a good idea. Anyway, the Cardinals’ 4-3 record is actually quite deceiving since two of those losses came against ranked opponents in Notre Dame and Clemson. Offensively, Louisville has been solid all year and rank 27th in offensive yards gained, averaging 456.7 per game. They are also ranked 65th and 24th in passing offense and rushing offense, respectively. Despite deploying a mix of quarterbacks Micale Cunningham and Evan Conley over the last few games, the Cardinals have found ways creative ways to create offense.

For the Hoos, all eyes will once again be on the running game. Although Wayne Taulapapa had success with a gassed Duke defense towards the end of the game, Virginia still couldn’t establish a run game early on. Louisville’s rushing defense isn’t great at 98th in the country so Virginia might be able to find some success. Regardless, the Hoos will look to capitalize off their momentum from last week to separate themselves from the rest of the ACC Coastal pack.

The Statistics

from Danny Neckel

Virginia has a bad offense/good defense? Louisville has a good offense/bad defense?

Category UVA Category UL
Category UVA Category UL
Yards Offense 104th (350.1) Yards Defense 111th (455)
Yards Defense 8th (270.3) Yards Offense 27th (456.7)
Passing Offense 62nd (240.7) Passing Defense 107th (263.1)
Passing Defense 12th (174.3) Passing Offense 65th (239.9)
Rushing Offense 120th (109.4) Rushing Defense 98th (191.9)

Hoo’s Hoo?

Virginia Cavaliers

Brenton Nelson, S

Third-year Brenton Nelson recorded his first interception of the season last week. After having a stellar freshman year, where he was named ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, Nelson actually saw his tackles drop in his second year from 64 to 41. Still, he has become an integral part of Virginia’s stout secondary corps and will be continue to be an important piece for the Cavaliers’ defense all season.

Virginia Cavaliers

Chris Moore, S

The season-ending injury for Bryce Hall meant some shifting around of the secondary. Chris Moore and Brenton Nelson both play the SABRE position, or strong safety, and have flexibility to play in the box. Nelson will pick up some of the receiver assignments, which leaves Moore to help out at the traditional SABRE slot. Moore recorded 12 tackles last week against Duke, after having only five tackles in the other two games he played this season.

Virginia Cavaliers

Joe Reed, WR

Fourth-year Joe Reed returned his fifth kick return for a touchdown last week against Duke. He now holds that record for Virginia as well as total kickoff return yards at 2,837. Reed has also become a more prominent receiver for the Hoos this year. So far he has 400 yards on 42 receptions and four touchdowns. In his increased role, Reed is already approaching his total amount of receptions over the last three years, at 52.

Louisville Cardinals

Micale Cunningham, QB

Louisville has had some uncertainty at the quarterback position all year. They started off with Jawon Pass who sustained a toe injury in the Cardinals’ first game against Notre Dame. They then went to Micale Cunningham, who played solidly before picking up leg and toe injuries against Boston College and Wake Forest. He still played last week against Clemson but only threw 4 for 11 for 63 yards.

Louisville Cardinals

Evan Conley, QB

Playing in place of Cunningham’s injuries is freshman Evan Conley. Against Wake Forest, Conley did well, throwing for 196 yards and two touchdowns. The effort even got him named as ACC quarterback and freshman of that week. Cardinals Head Coach Scott Satterfield has said that he’ll go with the healthiest quarterback available but the most likely scenario is that we see a mix of both Cunningham and Conley on Saturday.

Louisville Cardinals

Javian Hawkins, RB

Freshman Javian Hawkins was one of the bright spots for Louisville in their game against Clemson. He picked up 129 yards and a touchdown in the contest and now totals 751 yards and four touchdowns on the year. Hawkins is being utilized often in the offense, averaging almost 20 carries per game. Expect to see a lot of the freshman on Saturday and possibly even a little bit of sophomore running back Hassan Hall in the mix.


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