Duke (4-2) at Virginia (2-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 19, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Scott Stadium (61,500) -- Charlottesville, Virginia. Television: Regional Sports Net. Home Record: Duke 3-2, UVA 2-2. Away Record: Duke 1-0, UVA 0-2. Neutral Record: Duke 0-0, UVA 0-0. Conference Record: Duke 0-2, UVA 0-2. Series: Virginia leads, 33-31.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams both in search of their first Atlantic Coast Conference victory will meet up at Scott Stadium on Saturday afternoon, as the Virginia Cavaliers host the Duke Blue Devils.
Duke has won two games in a row, although both came out of conference. This past Saturday, the Blue Devils notched a 35-7 win over Navy to close out a four-game homestand. Following this weekend's tilt, they'll head to Blacksburg next Saturday to face Virginia Tech.
Meanwhile, Virginia enters this contest looking to snap a three-game slide. Most recently, the Cavaliers were on the wrong end of a 27-26 final at Maryland last Saturday. They'll begin a key three-game homestand when Duke comes to town.
UVA leads the all-time series, 33-31.
Redshirt junior quarterback Anthony Boone returned from a three-game absence against Navy and turned in a razor-sharp performance, completing 31-of-38 passes for a career-high 295 yards and three touchdowns. Jamison Crowder headlined the receiving corps with a game-high 10 catches for 88 yards, while Issac Blakeney caught a pair of touchdown passes. Boone effectively spread the ball around, as six different receivers caught at least three passes on the day. On the ground, Jela Duncan averaged five yards on nine carries, and he scored on a five-yard run in the fourth quarter. Overall, the Blue Devils offense has played well of late, averaging a healthy 43 points over the last three games.
Duke's defense forced Navy into a season-high three turnovers. It was a 14-7 game at halftime, but Duke held the Midshipmen to just 73 yards and five first downs over the final 30 minutes. All told, Navy finished with 319 yards of total offense, the fewest by a Duke opponent since Memphis was held to 237 yards in the second week of the season. Justin Foxx led the way with eight tackles, while Jeremy Cash tallied seven tackles (1.0 TFL) and an interception. Kenny Anunike also chipped in with seven stops to go along with a forced fumble and a sack. On the season, Cash paces the unit with 58 tackles, including six for loss, and two interceptions. Anunike has notched a team-high three sacks.
Virginia has certainly had its struggles on offense, as the team ranks 100th nationally in scoring offense (22.3 ppg) and 119th in team passing efficiency. However, there were some bright spots in the narrow loss to border rival Maryland.
In that game, David Watford threw for 263 yards and a score on 27-of-44 passing. Trailing by one in the waning moments, he drove the team down to the Maryland 24-yard line to set up a potential game-winning 42-yard field goal for Alec Vozenilek. But Vozenilek's kick sailed right with 10 seconds remaining, and Maryland prevailed. The loss spoiled a solid day for tight end Jake McGee, who reeled in eight passes for 114 yards. Kevin Parks ran for 112 yards and a TD, as Virginia piled up 505 total yards on the day.
The Cavalier defense has been rather inconsistent through six games. They allowed a total of 107 points in losses to Oregon and Ball State. But they also managed to hold BYU to 16 points and Pittsburgh to 14 on the road, while blanking VMI in a 49-0 win back in September. Last week, the unit struggled as Maryland's Brandon Ross ran for 88 yards and two touchdowns (6.3 ypc), while Terrapins quarterback Caleb Rowe finished with 332 yards passing and a touchdown. Henry Coley led the way with nine tackles, and Eli Harold compiled a pair of sacks to go along with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Neither of these teams appear to be much of a threat in the ACC, but Duke has played fairly well over its last couple of games. Still, earning a third straight win in Charlottesville is no easy task.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duke 38, Virginia 27
10/16 10:39:04 ET