The Virginia Cavaliers have their hands full on Saturday afternoon when they welcome No. 2 Oregon to Scott Stadium.
On paper this is another early season non-conference mismatch, but the Ducks should find more of a challenge with Virginia than they did in their 66-3 mauling of Nicholls State last Saturday.
It’s a battle of 1-0 teams as the Cavaliers also opened the season with a victory, although they struggled at times to defeat BYU 19-16. Virginia took the lead for good on a 13-yard touchdown run from junior running back Kevin Parks with just 2:36 remaining in the game.
Do the Cavaliers have a chance to pull off a shocker?
Let’s find out.
Here’s a look at everything you need to know about Oregon vs. Virginia.
When: Saturday, September 7
Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
Place: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.
Spread: Oregon -23
Last Meeting: Meeting for the first time
Key for Oregon: Keep it up-tempo, avoid mistakes
Virginia should have very little chance of staying in this game if the Ducks take care of the football. Perhaps the only way Virginia keeps it close is if Oregon beats themselves and that is unlikely to happen.
Marcus Mariota should be able to get the ball to his playmakers in space and after that it is as simple as the Ducks doing what they always do- press the gas pedal.
Running backs De’Anthony Thomas and Byron Marshall combined for 252 yards and three touchdowns on the ground a week ago, while senior receiver Josh Huff caught five balls for 118 yards.
I would expect similar results.
Key for Virginia: Stop the run
The Virginia offense didn’t really light the scoreboard up a week ago, putting up only 223 yards of total offense in the game and they aren’t likely to have much success against a very fast Oregon defense this week.
If Virginia is going to pull a shocker it is going to have to come from a stellar effort from their defense and that starts with stopping the run.
That’s easier said than done though.
Three players broke 100 yards rushing for the first time in Oregon history. In addition, stopping the run hasn’t exactly been the Cavaliers strength as of late.
Last season, Virginia allowed 3.99 yards per carry, ranking 50th in the nation and they didn’t get off to a good start last week as Jamaal Williams rushed for 144 yards.
If they don’t slow down the run, Thomas, Marshall and Mariota are going to have a field day.
Prediction: Simply put there’s just too much firepower on the Oregon sideline. No upset here. Oregon 45, Virginia 17