Game Preview: UVA football on Tobacco Road to face Wake Forest

virginia footballOdd to say, but UVA football is coming off its season-best performance … in a loss.

The Cavs (2-6, 1-3 ACC) led #5 Louisville most of the way before losing, 32-25, on a touchdown pass from Heisman Trophy favorite Lamar Jackson with 13 seconds left.

Good as that effort was, it was the third loss in a row for Virginia, all at home, and silly as it is to even think about such things, the ‘Hoos need to win this weekend at Wake Forest (5-3, 2-2 ACC) to keep whatever faint hopes of postseason play alive.

Wake has lost two straight after a 5-1 start, availing itself well in a 17-6 loss at Florida State two weeks ago, then dropping a 21-13 decision at home to Army.

It wouldn’t hurt the Demon Deacons to get their sixth win under their belts this weekend, just in case. The schedule isn’t kind the next couple of weeks, with games against Clemson and Louisville before their season finale on Nov. 26 at home against Boston College.


Getting to know: Wake Forest

The Deacs score 20.6 points per game and gain 334.8 yards per game total offense. Quarterback John Wolford has thrown for 1,230 yards, four touchdowns and seven interceptions, completing 54.9 percent of his passes (118 of 215).

His top targets are Tabari Hines (28 catches, 12.4 yards per catch) and Cortez Lewis (22 catches, 13.0 yards per catch).

The run game gains 156.2 yards per game (3.9 yards per attempt), led by Matt Colburn (417 yards, 4.3 yards per carry), Wolford (362 yards, 4.6 yards per carry) and Cade Carney (279 yards, 4.2 yards per carry).

The defense gives up 18.2 points and 379.0 yards per game, stout against the run (134.1 yards per game, 3.4 yards per carry), a little less so against the pass (244.9 yards per game, nine passing touchdowns allowed).

Watch out for Marquel Lee (64 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles) and Jessie Bates (59 tackles, 4 interceptions).

Punter Dom Maggio averages 43.9 yards per kick, downing 17 of his 38 kicks inside the 20.

Placekicker Mike Weaver is 11-of-14 on field-goal attempts, including 3-of-5 on kicks of 40-49 yards.

Weaver averages 63.9 yards per kickoff, with 20 touchbacks on his 38 kickoffs.


Getting to know: UVA

The Cavs average 26.1 points and 374.4 yards total offense per game. Quarterback Kurt Benkert has thrown for 2.097 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions, completing 58.3 percent of his passes (183 of 314).

His favorite targets are Keeon Johnson (39 catches, 9.9 yards per catch), Taquan Mizzell (36 catches, 7.1 yards per catch) and Olamide Zaccheaus (35 catches, 12.9 yards per catch).

The run game averages 109.9 yards per game (3.6 yards per attempt), led by Mizzell (527 yards, 5.1 yards per carry) and Albert Reid (367 yards, 4.6 yards per carry).

The Virginia defense gives up 32.6 points and 462.5 yards per game, 168.0 yards on the ground (4.3 yards per carry) and 294.5 yards per game through the air (and 18 passing touchdowns).

Micah Kiser leads the D with 91 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Quin Blanding has 83 tackles and two interceptions.

Punter Nicholas Conte averages 45.4 yards per kick, with 21 of his 49 punts downed inside the 20.

Placekicker Sam Hayward is 2-of-4 on field goals, with a long of 36.

Kickoff specialist Dylan Sims averages 61.6 yards per kickoff, with 10 touchbacks on 27 kickoffs.

Game Preview by Chris Graham


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