Virginia vs. Louisville: Game preview, forecast, live coverage

uva footballVirginia (3-2, 1-2 ACC) faces Louisville (3-2, 1-1 ACC) today at 3 p.m. on the ACC Network. Join us during the game for live commentary and analysis.

Broadcast Information

The game will kick off at 3 p.m. and will air live on ACC Network. Information on providers of the ACC Network can be found on GetACCN.com. The game is also available to ACC Network subscribers via the ESPN App and ESPN.com.

The contest can be heard on Virginia Sports Radio Networks around the commonwealth and live on VirginiaSports.com. A list of stations can be found here. Fans can follow along via live stats and the Virginia Mobile app and get in-game updates on the team’s official twitter account, @UVAFootball.

AFP pregame coverage

What UVA Football fans need to know about Louisville
Louisville looked awful in its opener, a 43-24 loss to Ole Miss that was not as close as the score would seem to indicate, and that’s saying something, because the score doesn’t seem to indicate that it was all that close.

Virginia offensive line, tailbacks hitting their stride, finally
Bronco Mendenhall talked all spring and most of the summer about how his stable of tailbacks was the best in his years in Charlottesville. And then: crickets.

Mendenhall on the UVA D: Improvement, but still work to do
The Virginia defense, through halftime and even the end of the third quarter, looked a lot like what it did in the first two weeks, holding Miami largely in check.

Mendenhall endorses Armstrong as next-level quarterback
Brennan Armstrong was a three-star coming out of high school. Now he’s very much in the mix for the NFL, the only question being, when?

UVA player status updates: Woods, Duenkel, Atariwa, Cross, KT, Hayes
Virginia really missed tight end Jelani Woods last week in Miami. The offense had a season-low 449 yards of total offense, and Brennan Armstrong threw for a season-low 268 yards, in the 30-28 win.

Betting lines

  • Vegas: Louisville -2.5
  • ESPN FPI: Virginia 51.2 percent win probability

Forecast

I’m not sure the Virginia defense woes are fixed just yet. Malik Cunningham necessitates the assignment of a spy to make sure he doesn’t take off for long gains on QB draws and scrambles, which means there’s usually one less guy in coverage than you would like. Coverage has been an issue for the UVA D of late. The offense will have to be perfect to be able to outscore the Cardinals, and it has been far from perfect the past two weeks. The status of tight end Jelani Woods will be important. Without Woods, the UVA offense just isn’t the same, and I’m assuming at this writing that Woods won’t be available. Prediction: Louisville 34, Virginia 26.

Live Coverage

Nice first drive for UVA

Brennan Armstrong converted a third-and-long inside the UVA 10, jumpstarting an eight-play, 85-yard TD drive. The bad news is that we look to have lost Dontayvion Wicks on a cheap shot that was initially ruled a targeting, then was overturned, though it was still unnecessary roughness.

The targeting rule might as well not be on the books if an intentional helmet-to-helmet hit is not considered targeting.

I’d be surprised if Wicks returns.

Louisville answers: One play

Tyler Harrell, who I warned you about in my pregame, that he can break off long TDs, connects with Malik Cunningham on a 91-yard TD, beating De’Vante Cross, of course.

Another drive stalls in the red zone

Armstrong threw slightly behind an open Ra’Shaun Henry on a completion at the 20. Another completion to Henry set up a first-and-goal at the 9. A pop pass, basically a run, by Billy Kemp lost a yard, then a short run by Wayne Taulapapa, then an incomplete pass to Kemp that would have been short of the end zone anyway.

Victory for the Louisville defense. UVA got the field goal, a 25-yard chippie by Brendan Farrell, but left four points on the field.

The hard part about watching Virginia on D …

… is knowing that the opponent can score on any play.

We’ve played one

Total offense: UVA 183 Louisville 161

And … another drive stalls in the red zone

First and goal at the 5, ends in another short Farrell field goal. You have to be able to power run in the red zone.

Turnover?

The Virginia D forces a turnover. Coen King on the tackle and the recovery. That kind of thing doesn’t happen often, Savor it.

Lack of running game

Virginia has 282 yards total offense, but just eight on the ground. The tailbacks (Taulapapa and Hollins) have 19 yards on just seven totes.

Need to be able to run the ball to be able to move the ball in the red zone.

A gap exploitation

Hassan Hall ll got a(n) (ahem) nice block in the A gap and raced untouched 52 yards for a TD on Louisville’s first drive. I thought the D lineman was held, but either way, there has to be somebody second- or third-level, or both, behind him.

Defense holds after the BA INT

Louisville started at the UVA 25 after Armstrong was picked. The D forced a short field goal. Big stop. The bigger issue: the Louisville D is just sitting back and playing centerfield because of the lack of a run game from Virginia.

This just in: The 3-3-5 is getting abused

Louisville has run for 109 yards in the third quarter. This has become a squash match.

Disastrous third for BA

Armstrong was 6-of-12 for 30 yards and two INTs in the third. Louisville outgained UVA 134-33, and outscored UVA 20-0 to take control.

This is the straw. I hereby stop defending the Mendenhall regime. This is the team he wants – running the 3-3-5 defense, with an offense that throws the ball on two-thirds of its snaps – and it sucks.

Yeah, yeah

UVA back on the board with a 10-play, 75-yard drive, TD run by Keytaon Thompson. Great. The defense needs to not only get a stop, but multiple stops, and multiple fast stops. Which it is not constitutionally able to do.

Hmmm …

Armstrong to Jelani Woods for a TD. Some big third-down conversions on that drive. It was 30-13; now it’s 30-27, with 7:49 left.

Interesting.

One more shot for the offense

James Turner good from 40 with 2:22 to go. Louisville leads 33-27. BA gets one more shot.

The lead!

Grant Misch 2-yard TD pass with 22 seconds left. UVA somehow has the lead.

We can breathe again

Turner missed from 49 on the final play. In, out, in, out. Whew.


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