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CONFERENCES COACHING CHANGES TRANSACTIONS GAMING MATCHUP CURRENT ODDS
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 8th, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: BB&T Field (31,500) -- Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Television:ESPNU. Home Record: Virginia 4-2, WF 3-1. Away Record: Virginia 1-2, WF 2-2. Neutral Record: Virginia 0-0, WF 0-0. Conference Record: Virginia 3-2, WF 3-2. Series Record: Virginia leads, 34-12.
GAME NOTES: A couple of programs aiming for their sixth win of the season collide at BB&T Field this weekend, as the Virginia Cavaliers challenge the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in an ACC showdown. The Cavs enter the contest on a real down note, as they allowed a late touchdown to Miami before losing 24-17 in overtime last weekend. The loss came on the heels of two straight upsets of Top 25 opponents and it also snapped the program's four-game winning streak. More importantly, Virginia dipped to 3-2 in the conference, as it lost its slim lead for the top spot in the Coastal Division. Now at 5-4 overall, the Cavs will head back out to the road, where they have gone just 1-2 thus far. As for WF, it was also involved in an overtime affair this past weekend, only it came out on top in a 33-30 decision against Duke. The win put the breaks on a two-game slide and jolted the Deacons to 5-3 overall and 3-2 within the conference. It was also the program's sixth straight home win over an ACC opponent. In terms of the head-to-head series, Virginia holds a 34-12 advantage over WF and it has won the past three encounters, including a 17-16 triumph last season.
After a slow start to the season, the Cavs' offense has stepped up and the team is now producing 316.8 total ypg for the year. Last weekend, Virginia was right on its season mark with 318 total yards, but it managed no points in the second half or overtime of a 24-17 setback to Miami. The club also turned the ball over twice and that has been in issues for the Cavs, who have committed 21 miscues on the year. Cedric Peerman guided the team with 78 rushing yards on 15 carries, but he also lost a fumble. Despite the lackluster performance. Peerman has put forth a solid campaign and he leads the team with 619 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. He also ranks third on the club with 33 catches. Getting him the ball is quarterback Marc Verica, who has really played well for the team over recent weeks. He has completed 66.8 percent of his tosses this season, although for just six touchdowns against nine interceptions. Last weekend, Verica hit on 27-of-41 pass attempts for 240 yards and a touchdowns. Kevin Ogletree, his main target, made seven catches last weekend and he also had a rushing touchdown. For the season, Ogletree paces the club with 44 catches, 545 receiving yards and four scores.
Much like its offense, Virginia's defense has steadily improved as the season has gone on and the unit is now holding foes to 22.4 ppg and 349.1 total ypg. The defense hasn't been dominant against the run (153.2 ypg) or pass (195.8 ypg), but has made up for that by forcing 20 turnovers and notching 25 sacks. Last weekend, the Cavs generated three turnovers, but that still wasn't enough to overcome the 448 total yards it allowed to Miami. The defense also let the team down in the fourth quarter, as Miami capped a 15-play, 95-yard drive with a 26-yard touchdown pass that tied the game with only 55 seconds left. The Hurricanes then went on to punch in another touchdown on their possession in overtime for the win. Clint Sintim, one of the premier pass rushers, was limited to just three tackles, but he still paces Virginia with 12 TFLs and 10 sacks on the season.
The Deacons have done a good job protecting the ball, committing only 13 turnovers, but they haven't shown much else on offense this season, producing just 19.4 ppg and 308.8 total ypg. In an overtime win over Duke last weekend, WF's offense wasn't great, but it did do a better job in gaining 344 total yards and posting 33 points. Quarterback Riley Skinner led the way by throwing for 232 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 36 yards and another score. On the year, Skinner has completed 63.3 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns and just four picks and he also ranks third on the club with 122 rushing yards. D.J. Boldin has emerged as his favorite target, as his 47 catches and 517 receiving yards are more than double any other player on the roster. He was also a factor last weekend, snaring eight balls for 89 yards and a score. Josh Adams, the team's top rusher, missed last game with an ankle injury, so Brandon Pendergrass stepped in and ran for a career-high 64 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Adams, who hasn't lived up to expectations this season with just 357 rushing yards, is listed as questionable for this weekend.
Wake has been able to overcome some of its offensive woes with solid defense, as the team is holding opponents to 18.4 ppg and 314.1 total ypg. The unit hasn't recorded many sacks (11), but it has done a great job in the turnover department, forcing 24 miscues. Last weekend, the Deacons created four turnovers to help compensate for the 376 total yards it allowed to Duke. Alphonso Smith had a pair of interceptions in the game, including one in overtime that sealed the victory. He now has a team-best five picks for the season. Aaron Curry made a career-high 16 tackles in the win over Duke and he leads the team in both stops (72) and TFLs (nine) on the year.
In a wide open ACC, every game counts and there is no downplaying the importance of this one. Both teams appear to be evenly matched, but Wake has the edge playing at home and with a sound game from Skinner, it should prevail in a close one this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wake Forest 23, Virginia 21
11/05 10:28:40 ET