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Duke vs. Virginia Preview

Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

When: Saturday, October 20 2018. 12:30 pm

Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, North Carolina

Television: ACC RSN, Fox Sports South

Line: Duke -7.5

Last Time: Duke 21, Virginia 28.  It was an ugly day for the Duke offense as Daniel Jones completed just 14 of his 42 pass attempts for just 142 yards.  Jones also has 2 interceptions, one of which was returned 58 yards for a touchdown on Duke’s first possession of the game.  Jeremy McDuffie was able to return the favor to tie the game with a 42 yard interception return near the end of the first quarter.  Joe Giles-Harris had a big day for the defense, totaling 15 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss.  The Blue Devils had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth, driving all the way to the Virginia 34 yard line before stalling and turning the ball over on downs.

Game Preview

The Cavaliers are coming off of a home upset win over Coastal Division favorite Miami and would love to continue their ascension with a win over Duke.  A win would essentially allow the Cavaliers to control their own destiny in the division, with a matchup against current division leader Virginia Tech not until the last week of the regular season.  The Blue Devils still have a chance in the Coastal, although their road is much more difficult with road games against Clemson and Miami still on the schedule.

Virginia ranks middle of the road in nearly all statistical categories on offense and defense, so in that sense they are somewhat balanced.  Bryce Perkins has been a dual threat quarterback so far this year.  Perkins is averaging almost 70 rushing yards per game and is completing over 60% of his pass attempts.  He has been turnover prone, throwing 7 interceptions so far this season, though 3 of them came last week against the turnover chain Hurricanes.  The Duke defense has been stout this season, but the secondary has yet to really flex their muscles on an opposing quarterback.  Saturday could mark a good opportunity for the secondary to make their mark.  The strength of the Duke defense has proven to be the front six, but there is still talent in the secondary, even with Mark Gilbert out for the year.  Virginia has not done well at protecting the quarterback so far this season, so it could be another big game for Chris Rumph and the Duke pass rushers.

The Duke offense has been a little puzzling this year.  The offense has been balanced.  Brittain Brown and Deon Jackson have contributed to every win this year and Daniel Jones has been very good.  But it still feels like they could be better.  After the first drive against Georgia Tech, that saw Duke march right down the field for a touchdown, the offense stalled, not scoring again until the defense and special teams created a rash of Yellow Jacket turnovers.  The Blue Devils have added the deep passing play, something that was sorely missing last season, but have not had as much success in the intermediate passing game.  While yardage wise the Cavalier defense hasn’t been great, they have done well at forcing turnovers.  They’ve already tallied 8 interceptions so far this year.  For whatever reason, Virginia has been Daniel Jones’ kryptonite.  In 2 career games against the Cavaliers Jones has thrown 7 interceptions, nearly a third of his 22 career interceptions.  Duke will need Jones to be better than this this year if they want to beat Virginia for the first time in three tries.