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Game Preview: UVA hosts North Carolina in ACC action on Saturday

virginia north carolinaThe UVA defense has given up 35 points or more in four of the team’s six games. North Carolina has scored 35 or more four times in seven starts.

There’s your stat of the week.

Here’s another one, from the Department of Mirror Images: Virginia (2-4, 1-1 ACC) scores 28.3 a game and gives up 32.3 a game, and UNC (5-2, 3-1 ACC) scores 32.1 a game and gives up 28.9 a game.

If you can find a sports book to take a bet on the final score being 32-28, put the money down, is what I’m saying.


Getting to know: North Carolina

UNC has wins over Pitt, Florida State and Miami, sandwiched around a 34-3 home loss to Virginia Tech.

The offense under coach Larry Fedora is what you’d expect, putting up 430.4 yards per game, getting 130.7 yards per game (4.3 yards per carry) on the ground, and just shy of 300 a game through the air.

Quarterback Mitch Trubisky has thrown for 2,068 yards while completing 70.5 percent of his passes (179 of 254), for 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

T.J. Logan (409 yards, 6.3 yards per carry) and Elijah Hood (369 yards, 4.6 yards per carry) are weapons in the backfield.

Ryan Switzer is putting up otherworldly numbers at wideout – 58 catches and 10.4 yards per catch. Also watch out for Bug Howard (29 catches, 14.8 yards per catch) and Austin Proehl (24 catches, 12.6 yards per catch).

The defense is also what you’d expect from a Fedora-coached team: not good. The UNC D gives up 417.3 yards per game, including 216 a game (4.5 yards a carry) on the ground.

Punter Tom Sheldon averages 44.0 yards per boot with six of his 25 punts downed inside the 20.

Placekicker Nick Weiler is 8-of-12 on field-goal attempts, including 2-of-3 from 50+, with 24 of his 43 kickoffs going for touchbacks.

Watch out for Logan on kickoff returns, a weak point for UVA last week in its loss to Pitt. Logan has a kickoff return TD this season and is averaging 27.2 yards per return.


Getting to know: UVA

The offense seems to get a little better every week. For the season, the Cavs are averaging 403.3 yards per game, including 114.2 a game on the ground (3.8 yards per carry).

QB Kurt Benkert has thrown for 1,733 yards, completing 57.2 percent of his passes (139 of 243) with 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Running backs Taquan Mizzell (355 yards, 5.5 yards per carry) and Albert Reid (346 yards, 5.1 yards per carry) are productive in the backfield.

Benkert has a quartet of receivers moving the chains – Keeon Johnson (31 catches, 9.8 yards per catch), Olamide Zaccheaus (29 catches, 14.6 yards per catch), Mizzell (24 catches, 7.8 yards per catch) and Doni Dowling (21 catches, 14.7 yards per catch).

The defense is a sieve, allowing 450.7 yards per game, 169.8 yards per game on the ground (4.2 yards per carry) and 280.8 yards through the air.

Punter Nicholas Conte averages 45.2 yards per kick, with 14 of his 34 punts downed inside the 20.

The placekicker du jour is Sam Hayward. UVA has made just two field goals all season long.

Kickoff specialist Dylan Sims has had 10 touchbacks on 27 kickoffs.

Preview by Chris Graham


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