What UVA Football fans need to know about Louisville

LouisvilleLouisville 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.

Since, the Cardinals have won three of four, the loss a last-minute 37-34 setback to unbeaten Wake Forest.

So, time for UVA Football fans to worry, right?

Well …

A late picksix keyed the win over Central Florida, which isn’t the Central Florida of recent vintage.

The one-score win over Florida State is over a team that just won its first game last week over Syracuse.

What I’m getting at is, we still don’t know a lot about where Louisville is right now, though we will be sundown on Saturday.

Players to watch

QB Malik Cunningham: He ain’t Lamar Jackson, but he’s a reasonable facsimile. Cunningham (1,307 yards, 7 TD/2INT, 142.9 passer rating, 309 yards/10 TDs on the ground) was 19-of-26 for 309 yards and two TDs, with one INT, against Wake, and he ran 10 times for 59 yards and two TDs. Wake blitzed him 11 times. On those plays, Cunningham was 6-of-9 for 76 yards and a TD. He was 9-of-12 for 194 yards and 2 TDs on play-action. And on passes that traveled 10+ yards in the air, Cunningham was 10-of-13 for 229 yards and two TDs. Um, he’s good.

WRs Ahmari Huggins-Bruce and Tyler Harrell: Both have broken passes into long TDs. Huggins-Bruce has a 93-yard TD this season; Harrell broke an intermediate crossing route into a 75-yarder in the Wake game.

Broadcast info

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.

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.

Story by Chris Graham


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