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CONFERENCES COACHING CHANGES TRANSACTIONS GAMING MATCHUP CURRENT ODDS
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 27th, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941) -- Durham, North Carolina. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Virginia 1-1, Duke 2-1. Away Record: Virginia 0-1, Duke 0-0. Neutral Record: Virginia 0-0, Duke 0-0. Conference Record: Virginia 0-0, Duke 0-0. Series Record: Virginia leads, 32-27.
GAME NOTES: ACC action gets underway this Saturday afternoon when the Duke Blue Devils host the Virginia Cavaliers at Wallace Wade Stadium. The Cavs were idle this past weekend, and hopefully the team used the extra time to regroup. Virginia has lost two of its first three games, including a 45-10 setback to Connecticut back on September 13th. The Cavs will look to build off last year's success in conference action when the team posted a 6-2 mark against league foes. As for the Blue Devils, they were also idle last week, and will likely enter this matchup refreshed and ready to play. Duke has won two of its first three games this season, including a hard-fought, 41-31 victory over Navy. With two wins already, the Blue Devils have equaled their total number of victories from 2005 to 2007. In terms of the all-time series between the two schools on the gridiron, the Cavs hold a 32-27 edge over Duke, and that includes an eight-game winning streak for Virginia.
The last time the Cavs were on the field the team's offense looked baffled and confused. Virginia collected just 219 total yards in the 45-10 loss to Connecticut, and that includes a mere 31 yards on 14 carries. The passing attack was not much better, as Marc Verica and Scott Deke both struggled under center. Verica completed 22-of-30 passes in the contest, but finished with just 158 yards and also tossed an interception. As for Deke, he threw for just 30 yards on three completions and was also intercepted once. After three games it is apparent the Cavs are lost offensively, as the team is averaging just 11.0 ppg. The ground attack has been non-existent, producing a pathetic 51.3 ypg on 2.1 ypc. Overall the team is averaging just 233.7 ypg and has committed eight turnovers in three games.
The Virginia defense has been just as troubled, allowing 32.3 ppg and 419.3 total ypg. The Cavs have been unable to stop the run or pass, as teams are rushing for 203.0 ypg, while also throwing for another 216.3 ypg. The team's woes against the run continued in the loss to Connecticut, as Virginia surrendered a whopping 382 yards on the ground. The Cavs allowed the Huskies to convert on 6-of-11 third down attempts, and all six red zone chances. Jon Cooper paced the defense with nine tackles in the loss, while Brandon Woods added eight stops. Cooper has been the main source of production for this lackluster defensive unit and is currently leading the team with 22 tackles and one TFL.
One of the biggest surprises this season has to be the play of the offensive unit for Duke, as the Blue Devils are averaging an impressive 410.7 total ypg, and that has led to an equally solid 30.2 ppg. Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis has been outstanding to start the season, completing 62.9 percent of his passes to go along with five touchdowns. Lewis currently has 714 passing yards and has yet to throw an interception. Eron Riley has been the main target for Lewis, as the wideout has caught all five touchdown passes, among his 19 receptions and 232 yards. Clifford Harris has paced the ground game with 203 yards and three scores, while Lewis has added 107 yards and one TD. In the team's 41-31 victory over Navy the Blue Devils were led by Lewis, who threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns. Overall Duke finished with 396 total yards and racked up 21 first downs in the win.
The defense has not been as solid and the main reason is because the Blue Devils have struggled against the run. Opponents are currently averaging 157.3 ypg on the ground, and six of the team's eight touchdowns allowed have come via the run. Overall the defense is allowing just 308.0 total ypg and has forced five turnovers, while also collecting five sacks. In the team's latest victory, the Blue Devils allowed 207 rushing yards on 4.5 ypc. However, since Navy possesses the top rushing offense in the nation, Duke's defense could deem that performance a successful one. Duke also held Navy to just 4-of-13 on third down attempts and forced two turnovers in the win. Michael Tauiliili led the way with 13 tackles, as did Vincent Rey, who added four TFLs and one fumble recovery.
Duke has lost eight consecutive games to Virginia, but that streak could be brought to end this Saturday. The Blue Devils have done a terrific job offensively, and considering Virginia does not possess a strong ground game, Duke's defense should be able to hold strong throughout the contest.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duke 31, Virginia 24
09/24 10:31:02 ET