Live Coverage: UVA football on the road at Louisville in ACC action

Augusta Free Press staff writer Scott German leads our live coverage of UVA football’s game at Louisville on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Scott will report with live score updates, commentary, analysis and more.

 

Virginia at Louisville • #UVAvsLOU
Date/Time Sat., Nov. 14, 2015 | 12:30 p.m.
Location Louisville, Ky. | Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium (55,000)
Television RSN | Affiliates
Radio Virginia Sports Radio Network | Satellite Radio — Sirius 157 | XM 204
Multimedia Gametracker | WatchESPN
Twitter @UVA_Football | @CoachMikeLondon | @VirginiaSports
Game Notes Virginia | Louisville | ACC | UVA Depth Chart
Additional Information Tickets | FacebookInstagram | 2015 Fact Book | 2015 Season Stats
Coach London Weekly Press Conference Transcript

 

UVaHelmet_1Game Preview: It’s win or be done time this weekend for UVA football and coach Mike London, who almost certainly can’t survive another losing season. (Can he, Craig? Please tell us he can’t.)

Virginia (3-6, 2-3 ACC) has been competitive in spurts this season, taking #6 Notre Dame to the final seconds in a narrow loss in Week 2, and giving #17 North Carolina a tough out a few weeks ago in Chapel Hill.

But Louisville (5-4, 4-2 ACC) has faced a tough schedule itself this season. The Cards’ losses have been to Auburn, Florida State and a pair of unbeatens, #1 Clemson and #16 Houston, and they’ve gone 5-1 in their last six.

The Cavs defeated Louisville last season in Charlottesville, 23-21, aided by a late special-teams turnover that set up a last-moment Ian Frye game-winning field goal.

UVA offense vs. Louisville defense For whatever reason, Virginia largely abandoned the run last week in its 27-21 loss at Miami, running just 32 times for 127 yards against a ‘Canes defense that had gone in giving up 200 yards per game on the ground. Matt Johns isn’t going to beat you through the air (61.9 percent completion rate, 13 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 125.7 passer rating). Taquan Mizzell is the threat, leading Virginia in rushing (537 yards, 4.4 yards per carry) and receiving (54 catches, 10.0 yards per catch). Virginia gains 367.4 yards per game total offense (11th in the ACC). The Louisville defense is fourth in the ACC in total defense (306.7 yards per game), second against the run (110.6 yards per game, 3.1 yards per carry) and fourth in pass-defense efficiency (115.1). The Cards have forced a league-high 21 turnovers.

Louisville offense vs. UVA defense Injuries are an issue for coach Bobby Petrino. Dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson is on the shelf, taking away the best running option (a team-leading 484 yards and six TDs on the ground). Backup Kyle Bolin is the better pocket passer (61.5 percent completion rate, 142.8 passer rating), and had a solid game in the 41-17 win over Syracuse last weekend, throwing for 362 yards and three touchdowns. The Virginia defense has been better since a disastrous opening four games, but the issues with pass defense were still there in the loss at Miami, whose quarterback, Brad Kaaya, was 20-for-26 passing for 286 yards last week. The UVA pass defense is by far the worst in the ACC in pass efficiency (159.1), which doesn’t bode well in a matchup against a solid passing team.

Special Teams UVA’s kickers are among the ACC’s best. Punter Nicholas Conte averages 44.0 yards per kick, with 10 of his 37 punts downed inside the 20. Placekicker Ian Frye has made his last 11 field-goal attempts, and is 14-of-17 on the season, including 3-of-6 from 40-49 with his two longest makes coming last week at Miami, from 47 and 48. Louisville punter Joshua Appleby averages 40.9 yards per kick, with 20 of his 48 punts downed inside the 20. Placekicker John Wallace is 11-of-16 on field goals this season, with two kicks blocked. Watch out for kick returner Traveon Samuel, who averages 30.6 yards per return and has a 100-yard touchdown.

How This One Plays Out UVA, ideally, tries to run on Louisville to shorten the game and limit its exposure to the Cards’ passing game, but the UL defense is stout against the run. Expect to see a lot of second- and third-and-longs as a result, putting pressure on Matt Johns to get back from behind the chains through the air. This is a formula for disaster, with John’s issues this season throwing the ball to the wrong team. Louisville gets up early with a short passing game that takes what the Virginia D, with its weak secondary, has to give them, and this one turns into a rout by the third quarter.

Final Score: Louisville 38, Virginia 13

– Game Preview by Chris Graham


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