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CONFERENCES COACHING CHANGES TRANSACTIONS GAMING MATCHUP CURRENT ODDS
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 1st, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Scott Stadium (61,500) -- Charlottesville, Virginia. Television:Raycom. Home Record: Miami 3-2, Virginia 4-1. Away Record: Miami 2-1, Virginia 1-2. Neutral Record: Miami 0-0, Virginia 0-0. Conference Record: Miami 2-2, Virginia 3-1. Series Record: Miami-Florida leads, 3-2.
GAME NOTES: A couple of streaking teams meet in a key ACC battle this weekend, as the Miami-Florida Hurricane tangle with the Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium. The Hurricanes have rebounded nicely from an 0-2 start in the conference, as they defeated Duke (49-31) and most recently Wake Forest (16-10) this past week to level their league mark. It marks the first time since 2006 that Miami has won consecutive league outings. Overall, the Hurricanes have won three straight to improve to 5-3, matching their entire win total from a season ago. As for Virginia, it continued its hot streak by upending nationally-ranked Georgia Tech 24-17 last weekend. It was the team's second straight win over a Top 25 opponent and its fourth win overall. The win not only improved Virginia to 5-3, but it also gave the program sole possession of first place in the Coastal Division at 3-1. The Cavs' turnaround has been quite remarkable when considering they lost three of their first four games and by an average of 36 points. The all-time series between Miami and Virginia is led by the Hurricanes, who have taken three of the five prior encounters. Last season, however, the Cavs blanked the Hurricanes 48-0 in Miami's final game at the Orange Bowl. The last time Miami lost that badly at home was in 1944, when Texas A&M beat the Hurricanes 70-14.
The Hurricanes have been inconsistent on offense this season and they come into this matchup producing 126.8 ypg on the ground and 179.6 ypg through the air. Despite those modest numbers, Miami has been able to score a solid 30.5 ppg, as it has made the most of its opportunities. Last weekend, the Hurricanes totaled 296 total yards, including 102 on the ground, and didn't turn the ball over once in a 16-10 win over Wake Forest. Quarterback Robert Marve threw for 153 yards and ran for a team-high 56 yards and a touchdown, while Matt Bosher kicked three field goals in the victory. It was a sound effort by Marve, who has had his share of struggles this season. In seven outings, Marve has completed only 54.9 percent of his tosses for an average of 118.4 passing ypg, with seven scores against nine picks. He was even replaced the prior week by freshman Jacory Harris, who threw for four touchdowns and ran for another in a win over Duke. Harris completed 4-of-8 tosses for 41 yards last weekend versus Wake Forest, but Marve stole the show with his efforts. Craig Cooper, though, was held to just 27 yards on 12 carries last weekend and that was a poor performance from the team's leading rusher. Cooper has amassed 503 yards and four scores on the ground this season and is averaging 4.9 yards per carry.
On the defensive side of the ball is where Miami's strength lies, as the Hurricanes are limiting opposing clubs to a mere 283.0 total ypg. The unit has done a good job against both the run (113.9 ypg) and pass (169.1 ypg) and has also posted 17 sacks. The one negative about this unit is that it doesn't force enough turnovers, generating only 10 thus far. The defense, though, is coming off a stout effort in which it held Wake Forest to only 252 total yards in a win last weekend. The Hurricanes allowed just 57 yards through the air, while forcing one turnover and recording a pair of sacks. Darryl Sharpton headed the charge with seven stops, while Adewale Ojomo forced a fumble and notched 1.5 sacks. On the year, Sharpton is tied with Glenn Cook for the team- lead in tackles with 49, and Ojomo paces the club with three sacks.
The Cavs have made good strides on offense over the last several weeks and they are now averaging 106.4 rushing ypg and 210.2 passing ypg. Facing a stingy Georgia Tech defense last weekend, Virginia amassed 396 total yards to pull off a 24-17 upset. Cedric Peerman toted 25 times for 118 yards and he scored the game-winning touchdown on a three-yard run with 3:29 left in the contest. Peerman has really come on strong and he paces the Cavs with 541 yards and seven scores on the year. He is also a target in the passing game, ranking third on the team with 30 catches. Getting him the ball is quarterback Marc Verica, who overcame three turnovers by throwing for 270 yards and a pair of touchdowns 29-of-39 tosses last weekend. Verica has made some mistakes this season, throwing nine picks, but he has played a big part in the team's turnaround and has completed 67.0 percent of his throws with five touchdowns. Kevin Ogletree has been his favorite outlet and he tops the roster with 39 catches, 474 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He was limited to just two catches for 19 yards last weekend, but he did haul in a 14-yard touchdown pass.
Defensively, the Cavs have tightened things up over recent weeks and are now limiting opposing clubs to 336.8 total ypg. The unit has had some struggles versus the run, giving up 147.9 ypg, but has done well against the pass, surrendering 188.9 ypg and eight touchdowns against nine interceptions. Getting to opposing quarterbacks has been a big strength of this unit, which has notched 23 sacks thus far. Last weekend, Virginia yielded two touchdowns in the opening 10 minutes, but clamped down and allowed just one field goal to Georgia Tech the rest of the way. Overall, the Cavs gave up only 259 total yards in the win, while forcing three turnovers and posting four sacks. Jon Copper led the way with seven stops and a sack, while Clint Sintim forced a fumble and registered 1.5 sacks. On the year, Copper heads the team with 67 stops and Sintim is second to him with 49 tackles. Sintim also leads the Cavs, as well as the rest of the ACC, with 9.5 sacks and 11.5 TFLs.
Both teams are on a roll right now and this game will go a long way in determining the Coastal Division champion. The Cavs have the edge playing this one at home and they seem to have a few more weapons on offense and that should help them prevail in a close one this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia 23, Miami-Florida 20
10/29 10:25:42 ET