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From the Upper Deck: Hoos impressive in first road win since 2012

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Virginia starts the season 1-0 in the ACC after their 34-20 win over the Duke Blue Devils

NCAA Football: Virginia at Duke Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

The last time Virginia won a football game on the road, our country re-elected President Obama just days later. Fast forward to today, and not only does Virginia have a new coach, but the country soon too will have a new leader. Personally, I’m still holding out for Brogdon-Bennett 2028, but I digress. The road win puts the Hoos 2-3 on the year, but more importantly 1-0 in the ACC. And you know what they say, 8-0 in conference still plays for the ACC title. One down seven to go. All kidding aside, 2-3 is a far cry from where we were just four weeks ago. In case you missed it, here’s what we were looking for in Durham, and here is how it played out...From the Upper Deck.

Limit Big Plays - For a team that thrives on the quick strike, the Virginia Cavaliers defense did their job limiting a potent Duke offense to just a handful of big plays. In fact, Duke managed only four plays of greater than 20 yards, and only one of those was greater than 23 yards. Compare that to the Hoos who had five plays of over 28 yards. More importantly than keeping plays in front of them, the Virginia secondary came up huge intercepting Duke quarterback Daniel Jones five times. It was a refreshing change from a secondary that has been ripped apart much of the season, and a good sign for things going forward.

Play a complete game - Much of this season has been defined by the offense going significant stretches of games without scoring and the defense allowing unanswered points by the opposition. Add to that a team that would sometimes excel on one end of the field, only to be inept on the other. It was a refreshing to see Virginia finally put it all together on Saturday. After falling behind 7-0, Virginia did no worse than trade scores with the Blue Devils and took the lead for good with four minutes left in the second quarter. While the offense lit up the scoreboard, the defense not only shut down a prolific attack, but gave their other half plenty of opportunities by forcing six Duke turnovers. In addition to the main units, it goes without saying that punter, Nick Conte is positioning himself to be an MVP of this year’s squad. His average of 48 yards per punt today is impressive enough, but placing two of those at the one yard line was a major factor in the game. The second allowed Virginia to score a touchdown on Jordan Mack’s blistering sack fumble of Jones which iced the game in the Cavaliers’ favor.

Air it out - After the Richmond game, we thought there might be something. After last week’s record-setting performance, it was becoming more clear. After this week’s win at Duke...Virginia has a quarterback. Kurt Benkert was once again spectacular throwing for 336 yards and three touchdowns, though with one INT. On the day he averaged 8.2 yards per attempt (down from last week, but up for the season average, and 2+ yards more than Duke’s Jones). More so than just the yardage, this is shaping up to be an offense that will beat you in many different ways. Benkert was able to make throws all over the field connecting with 11 different receivers. The game also saw the coming out party for second-year David Eldridge. After getting some positive publicity in the offseason for being able to blow the top off the defense, Eldridge caught two balls for 112 yards, including an 84 bomb from Benkert that set up an Albert Reid one-yard touchdown run that put Virginia ahead for good.

The Hoos get a well-deserved week off before hosting Pittsburgh in two weeks. Stay tuned to Streaking the Lawn as we bring you all the bye week coverage.