Hoos going to win the football game!? Ean Greenberg discusses the three key factors to focus on in this week’s matchup against the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Photos courtesy of: Jonathan Buchinsky, Athlon Sports, Pentagram, Pitt Athletics, State of the U, The Virginian-Pilot, Pittsburgh, Zimbio
Competition Footage Courtesy of ACC Digital
Produced by Ean Greenburg
— Script —
The now ranked and bowl eligible Virginia Cavaliers look to continue their winning ways against Pittsburgh friday night under the lights. I’m Ean Greenberg and here are 3 things to look out for in this week’s matchup
Factor 1: Shut down Pitt’s running game
The Panthers’ offense is not one to fear. They rank seventy ninth in the nation with twenty eight points per game and their passing attack is even worse. Out of the one hundred and twenty nine FBS teams they rank one hundred and twenty first with one hundred and forty six point four passing yards per game. The rushing attack, on the other hand, is something to look out for. Led by running back Qadree Ollison, who has rushed for seven hundred and ninety five yards and seven touchdowns this year, Pitt’s run game is twenty second in the nation with two hundred and twenty seven point nine yards per game. Luckily the Cavaliers defense is exceptional at stopping the run game, as they are twentieth in the nation, only allowing one hundred and thirteen yards per game. Linebackers Chris Snowden and Charles Peace, who combined for nine tackles last week, will need to be all over the field in this matchup.
Factor 2: Let the good times roll
Virginia has to be feeling good about themselves. The Cavaliers come into this matchup ranked in the AP top 25 for the first time since November twentieth, two thousand eleven. The cavaliers are also ranked in the college football playoff ranking for the first time ever. So clearly, things have been going well for the Hoos. However, they must make sure not to get complacent. 1st place in the ACC coastal division and 23rd in the nation is nice, but winning is even better. The Hoos control their own fate for the rest of the season and if they wanna make a huge statement in the ACC they will need to keep winning these games against lesser opponents, like Pitt this week. The Cavaliers should be proud of what they’ve accomplished so far, but there are many more wins to come by.
Factor 3: Bryce Perkins
Many fans attribute Virginia’s success to the defense, which has been stellar all season long, but a lot of credit also has to go to Bryce Perkins. Perkins has brought a versatility to the Cavaliers offense that we have not seen in awhile; he can do it with his arm and his legs. Pittsburgh’s defense is pretty bad, as they rank ninety third in the nation giving up thirty two point six points per game. Therefore, Perkins will need to continue his strong of recent success. In the last two weeks against Duke and UNC, Perkins has accounted for five hundred and seventy nine yards, seven total touchdowns and only one interception. For the Hoos to continue this winning streak Perkins will need to take advantage of this matchup.
My Prediction: UVa 30 Pitt 20
Make sure to tune in and watch at 7:30 tonight on ESPN 2