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Matchup breakdowns: Duke at Virginia

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Virginia Louisville Football

Virginia wide receiver Keytaon Thompson crosses the goal line to score a touchdown against Louisville on Oct. 9.

A look at who has the edge in Saturday's ACC Coastal Division matchup between Virginia and Duke.


Brennan Armstrong leads the country in passing yards with over 400 per game. He’s been fantastic for UVa, and he’s in a battle with Pitt’s Kenny Picket for All-ACC first team honors. Gunnar Holmberg averages nearly 270 passing yards per game, but UVa holds a clear edge. Edge, Virginia.

Running backs

Mike Hollins and Wayne Taulapapa give UVa capable options, but Duke’s Mataeo Durant might be the best running back in the ACC. He averages 131 rushing yards per game. Edge, Duke.

Receivers/tight ends

Four UVa players have more than 400 receiving yards this fall, and that group doesn’t even include standout tight end Jelani Woods. The team’s receiving options are fantastic, even if Dontayvion Wicks is unable to go after leaving last week’s game with an injury. Jalon Calhoun is a standout for Duke. Edge, Virginia.

Offensive line

Duke has done well to rush for over 200 yards per game. The team also ranks in the middle of the ACC in sacks allowed. UVa has allowed plenty of sacks, in part due to the volume of passing plays called. For the most part, Virginia’s offensive line looks solid. Edge, Push.

Defensive line

Neither defensive front is dominant, which is part of why each team has struggled to stop opposing offenses. Mandy Alonso has come on strong in recent weeks for UVa, which gives the Cavaliers a minimal edge. Edge, Virginia.


Shaka Heyward is a tackling machine for the Blue Devils, averaging nine stops per game. Nick Jackson makes a ton of plays or the Cavaliers, recording 8.8 tackles per contest. Noah Taylor’s performance gives the Cavaliers the edge at the position. Taylor averages nearly eight tackles per game, and he has 3.5 sacks. Edge, Virginia.


Neither team’s passing defense is spectacular, but Duke at least has a few players who make disruptive plays. Interceptions have been few and far between for UVa, but a couple Blue Devils have multiple interceptions this fall. It’s a narrow margin, but the advantage leans toward the team with forced turnovers. Edge, Duke.

Special teams

Each team is aggressively average on special teams. According to ESPN’s SP+ efficiency metrics, neither team is in the top 100 of the FBS in special teams efficiency. Edge, Push.


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