Duke vs. Virginia prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Blue Devils and Cavaliers.
Duke vs. Virginia Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 1 – 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
TV Broadcast: ACC Extra
The Blue Devils (2-2, 0-1 ACC) are likely still basking in the glow of their victory over Notre Dame in South Bend, although head coach David Cutcliffe will make sure his team is focused as it prepares for a home game against Virginia (1-3, 0-0 ACC), which will play its first ACC game of the season after blowing a huge lead and surviving a scare against Central Michigan.
In last year’s contest in Charlottesville, the Cavaliers received a big passing day from Matt Johns and held off a late rally to win, 42-34. UVA had lost three straight and six of the last seven to the Blue Devils. The Hoos have lost 17 in a row on the road, so it’s a streak they would love to end.
What To Know About Duke
The Blue Devils came into last week’s game at Notre Dame coming off of a 24-13 loss at Northwestern, so Cutcliffe and his staff did a great job of getting this team to refocus. The Blue Devils did a better job of finishing drives and capitalizing on momentum when it was there for the taking against the Irish. They do, however, remain susceptible to the big play, as they allowed 10 passes of 20 yards or more against Notre Dame. However, they did force three turnovers in the win.
What To Know About Virginia
The Cavaliers finally delivered Bronco Mendenhall his first victory since arriving in Charlottesville, as they held on to beat Central Michigan despite a furious rally by the Chippewas. It will be a difficult rebuild at UVA, but Mendenhall remains positive while imparting his vision on players. Quarterback Kurt Benkert is coming off of his best game of the season, as he threw five touchdown passes against CMU, which is big for an offense that was averaging below 20 points per game coming into last week’s game. It’s a unit that needs to control the football behind efficient passing and the running back tandem of Taquan Mizzell and Albert Reid.
Offense: Even. There’s a slight lean to Duke because of the way Daniel Jones has stepped in for Thomas Sirk at quarterback, but the Hoos have not played the type of offense it is capable of quite yet.
Defense: Virginia. Andrew Brown was arguably the No. 1 defensive tackle coming out of high school, and he’s blossoming into a star. He has already surpassed his career totals in sacks and tackles for loss in just four games.
Special Teams: Virginia. Punter Nicholas Conte can be a real asset in this game if it’s close. The Cavs can win the field-position battle because he was near the top of the ACC last season in average.
Coaching: Duke. Cutcliffe is a magician.
Intangibles: Duke. The Blue Devils are at home and have all of the momentum following their win over the Fighting Irish.
Matchup To Watch
Jones vs. UVA secondary
Jones threw three touchdown passes last week against Notre Dame, including a 64-yarder to Anthony Nash in the fourth quarter to tie the score. He was 24-of-32 passing for 290 yards, and he will have a chance to pick on a Cavaliers secondary that was porous last week against CMU. Virginia lost cornerback Juan Thornhill on the first play of the game and gave up several long completions on third downs.
Duke vs. Virginia Betting Odds
Spread: Duke -3.5
Duke vs. Virginia Prediction
The Cavaliers should continue to get better on offense, as the unit showed last week against Central Michigan that it is capable of moving the ball and scoring points. I think Benkert and the rushing attack will be productive, and Benkert should be able to connect on some big plays down the field. But Jones, running back Jela Duncan and that Duke offense will get the last score. And Cutcliffe’s defense will get the last key defensive stop.
Duke vs. Virginia Score Prediction: Duke 34, Virginia 26