As much as everyone is talking about the Penn State scandal, there are some big football games this weekend. One of those will be coming out of the ACC: Duke at Virginia. No, I’m just kidding. It’s really Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, as both are ranked in the top 25 and GT (4-2) is one game behind VT (4-1) in the Coastal Division.
But I am going to talk about the Blue Devils and Cavaliers, who face off Saturday afternoon at 3pm ET in Charlottesville. Virginia is 3-2 in the ACC Coastal Division and 6-3 overall. With a win over Duke (and a VT win over GT), Virginia would move to second place. Duke is 1-4 in the Coastal Division (last place) and 3-6 overall.
Duke NEEDS to win their final three games to qualify for a bowl game. The season did not start out great for Duke, as they lost their first two games. Then the Blue Devils went on a three game winning streak. Now they are in a losing funk, as they have lost four in a row. Virginia meanwhile, has qualified for a bowl game for the first time since 2007.
Duke has won the last three games against Virginia, winning last year in Durham, 55-48. Prior to that, Virginia had won eight straight (Virginia owns a 32-30 career record against Duke). The two teams have played every year since 1962. The Cavaliers have scored at least 30 points in 16 of the last 28 meetings and is out-scoring Duke in its last 21 meetings 648-318.
Cavaliers wide receiver Kris Burd was named ACC Receiver of the Week. Burd caught nine passes for 112 yards in last week’s win over Maryland. Offensive guard Austin Pasztor was named Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week with six knockdown tackles last week, as Virginia collected 527 yards. Freshman running back Kevin Parks ranks second among ACC freshman running backs with 538 (67.2 yard a game) yards. His seven rushing touchdowns rank second among all FBS freshman running backs.
So Duke’s defense will have their hands full.
Saftey Rodney McLeod was named Defensive Back of the Week with three interceptions in the last week’s second half. Duke quarterback Sean Renfree has shown a penchant for throwing interceptions this season, though he has only thrown two on the road this season (294.7 yards per game in road games).