FACTS & STATS: Site: Scott Stadium (61,500) — Charlottesville, Virginia.
Television: None. Home Record: Miami 5-1, Virginia 4-2. Away Record: Miami
1-3, Virginia 0-4. Neutral Record: Miami 0-0, Virginia 0-0. Conference Record:
Miami 3-3, Virginia 2-4. Series Record: Miami-Florida leads, 6-5.
GAME NOTES: The Virginia Cavaliers will play their final home game of the
season on Saturday night when they welcome the Miami-Florida Hurricanes to
Miami had unbeaten Florida State on the ropes last Saturday at home but could
not hold onto a fourth-quarter lead as it suffered a 30-26 loss to snap a
three-game winning streak. The Hurricanes are 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the ACC,
although they have not had much success on the road (1-3).
Early in the season, Virginia appeared to have what it takes to compete in the
ACC, as it won four of its first five games, which included impressive
conference victories over Louisville (23-21) and Pittsburgh (24-19). Since
that hot start however, the Cavaliers have fallen flat with four straight
losses, most recently dropping a 34-20 decision at then-No. 2 Florida State on
The Hurricanes have a 6-5 advantage in the all-time series, although Virginia
has inched closer by winning three of the last four meetings.
Miami’s offense got off to a hot start against FSU last week, scoring 23
points in the game’s first 19 minutes, but it only managed to put up three
points the rest of the way and let the Seminoles come back. On the season,
the unit has been impressive with 32.3 ppg and 442.4 ypg.
The Hurricanes are powered by one of the nation’s best running backs. Duke
Johnson has turned 185 carries into 1,343 yards (ninth-best in FBS) and 10
touchdowns while adding impressive receiving totals as well (25 receptions,
310 yards, two TDs). Johnson has showed remarkable consistency with at least
90 yards in every game, and he’s currently riding a streak of six straight
Brad Kaaya has made a big impact as a true freshman by completing just shy of
60 percent of his passes for 2,403 yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
He threw for 316 yards against FSU, his third 300-yard passing game.
Philip Dorsett has racked up 662 yards and seven touchdowns on only 23
receptions for a yards-per-catch average (28.8) that’s best in the country.
Clive Walford is also a reliable pass-catcher with 33 receptions, 522 yards
and seven scores.
Miami has a strong defense to pair with its stellar offense. The unit allows
just 22.7 ppg and 323.0 ypg and has created 22 takeaways.
Denzel Perryman is one of the ACC’s best linebackers, as he’s racked up 81
tackles, 6.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, an interception and two forced fumbles. Thurston
Armbrister has a team-high 5.0 sacks and is one of eight players with multiple
sacks. Deon Bush, Raphael Kirby and Ladarius Gunter each have a pair of
The Cavaliers offense has been below average on the season, as they score just
26.0 ppg on 383.5 ypg. The unit had its hands full against a talented FSU
defense its last time out, amassing less than 260 yards.
Greyson Lambert hasn’t been too impressive under center on the year,
completing less than 60 percent of his passes for 1,275 yards with more
interceptions (nine) than touchdowns (eight), but he’s fresh off a strong
performance against FSU with 220 yards, a career-high three touchdowns and an
Kevin Parks had nowhere to run the last time out, gaining just 43 yards on 15
carries. On the season, he’s turned 165 attempts into 669 yards and four
Canaan Severin has caught a team-high 34 passes for 441 yards and four
touchdowns, and Darius Jennings (24 receptions, 466 yards, two TDs) is a
quality deep threat with 19.4 yards per catch. Taquan Mizzell and Parks are
check-down options out of the backfield with a combined 61 catches, but
neither averages more than six yards per reception.
Virginia has been able to remain competitive in most of its games thanks to a
solid defense (25.2 ppg, 347.8 ypg), which has forced 24 turnovers, even
picking off the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston twice in its
Quin Blanding is one of the nation’s most active tacklers with 102 stops and
he has also picked off a pair of passes. Anthony Harris (91 tackles, two
INTs), Daquan Romero (73 tackles, INT, two FF) and Maurice Canady (three INTs)
have also been responsible for multiple takeaways, while Henry Coley (68
tackles, 12.5 TFL, 8.0 sacks) and Eli Harold (13.0 TFL, 7.0 sacks) anchor one
of the ACC’s best pass rushes.
Expect a low-scoring game with two stout defenses going toe-to-toe. With
Miami’s road struggles matched up against Virginia and its impressive home
record (4-2), the Cavaliers should find a way to squeak this one out.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia 24, Miami-Florida 23