Duke at Virginia - 9/26/20 College Football Picks and Prediction
Photo by Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Duke Blue Devils (0-2) at Virginia Cavaliers (0-0)
College Football: Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 4:00 pm (David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium)
The Line: Virginia Cavaliers -6 -- Over/Under: 45.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds
Where to Watch: ACC Network Stream live sports and exclusive originals on ESPN+. Sign up now!
The Duke Blue Devils will travel to David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium to take on the Virginia Cavaliers this Saturday afternoon in College Football action.
The Duke Blue Devils dropped to 0-2 (0-1 ACC) on the season after being defeated by the Boston College Eagles, 26-6, this past Saturday. Duke’s offensive struggled with turnovers agianst Boston College and could not fight back after the Eagles took a 23-6 lead late in the 3rd quarter on a 61-yard TD pass. Duke was outgained by Boston College by a 384-351 margin and lost the turnover battle by a 5-1 margin in the loss. Leading the way for the Blue Devils was RB Mataeo Durant who had 59 rushing yards and a TD on 5 carries.
On the season, Duke is averaging 9.5 ppg on 342.5 total yards per game (104.5 rushing yds/g; 238 passing yds/g). Offensively, Duke has been led by the RB duo of Deon Jackson (30 att, 126 yards) and Mataeo Durant (10 att, 66 yards, TD). QB Chase Brice has completed 54.4 of his passes for 476 yards and 2 INT. The top receiving threats for the Blue Devils have been Noah Gray (10 rec, 129 yards), Eli Pancol (4 rec, 86 yards), Jake Bobo (8 rec, 84 yards), and Jalon Calhoun (6 rec, 65 yards).
Defensviely, Duke is allowing their opponents to average 26.5 ppg on 412.5 total yards per game (131 rushing yds/g; 281.5 passing yds/g).
The Virginia Cavaliers kick off their 2020 system looking to continue the momentum that build last season which saw the Cavaliers post a 9-4 record and 6-2 ACC record. Virginia had some quality wins last season agianst Florida State & Virginia Tech, however, could not pull a win in the Orange Bowl, falling to the Florida Gators in a competitive 36-28 game.
Virginia was led last season but an outstanding offense that averaged 32.1 ppg, however, the Cavaliers will no longer have their star QB, Bryce Perkins who threw for 3538 yards, 22 TD, and 11 INT last season while also adding 769 yards and 11 TD’s on the ground. Replacing Perkins will be Brennan Armstrong who in limited time last season, completed 15 of 20 passes for 196 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INT. Virginia will be returning their top RB in Wayne Taulapapa who averaged about 40.0 rushing yds/g and had 12 TD’s on the season. Virginia returned their entire starting offensive line and coming back for the receivers will be Terrell Jana (74 rec, 886 yards, 3 TD) & Tavares Kelly Jr. (14 rec, 152 yards, TD).
Defensively, Virginia allowing their opponents to average 27.1 ppg on 371.9 total yards per game and should be even better this season with a bunch of experience returning. Leading the defense will be LB’s Zane Zandier & Noah Taylor along with safety Joey Blount.
The Blue Devils are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in September, however, are just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss. The Cavaliers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games on grass.
Duke’s defense has been decent this season, but it has been a struggle offensively as the Blue Devils have put up just 19 points on the season and has already committed 7 turnovers. Virginia has some question marks on the offensive end now that Bryce Perkins is gone, however, as the Cavaliers still have some playmakers on the offensive end and should be solid defensively team, I’m initially leaning on taking Virginia to cover this mid-range spread.