Louisville vs. Virginia prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Cardinals and Cavaliers on Saturday in Charlottesville, VA.
Louisville vs. Virginia Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 29 – Noon ET
Where: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA
TV Broadcast: ABC/ESPN2
The Cardinals (6-1, 4-1 ACC) recorded three interceptions, which led to 17 points, in an easy 54-13 win over NC State last week. Heisman Trophy-contending quarterback Lamar Jackson completed 20 of 34 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns in the win. The sophomore had 359 of his 431 total yards of offense by halftime, so it was a typical “Lamar being Lamar” kind of day.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers (2-5, 1-2) are coming off of a 35-14 loss to North Carolina at Scott Stadium, as Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky threw for 310 yards and three touchdown passes. It was UNC’s seventh victory in a row in the series.
The last time these teams played, Louisville scored a 38-31 home win behind a career-high 146 rushing yards and two scores from Brandon Radcliff. Louisville rushed for 266 yards against the Hoos in the contest.
What To Know About Louisville
Jackson (16 rushing touchdowns and 18 passing touchdowns) is poised to become the seventh FBS player and first since NIU’s Jordan Lynch in 2013 to rush for at least 20 touchdowns and pass for at least 20 scores in the same season. Past stars such as Tim Tebow, Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel are also in that club. Louisville, which received a career-best 118 yards from Cole Hikutini, is eligible for a bowl for the seventh straight season. This is a team that remains very much in the College Football Playoff mix, though the recent struggles of future opponent Houston will hurt the Cardinals’ schedule strength. But the selection committee will remember Louisville’s performance against Clemson, so it’s a matter of surviving and advancing now for Bobby Petrino’s squad.
What to Know About Virginia
The Cavaliers are struggling on offense and need to win four of their last five games to make their first bowl game since 2011. First-year head coach Bronco Mendenhall began the season with three consecutive setbacks, including a home loss to Richmond in the opener. After back-to-back wins, losses to Pitt and UNC followed, and the offense has really underwhelmed over the last three halves. The Cavaliers were just 3-of-19 on third downs last week against the Tar Heels, and they scored just three points in the second half the previous week against Pitt.
Offense: Louisville. The Cardinals are averaging 52.6 points per game, which is exactly double of what the Hoos average each week.
Defense: Louisville. Petrino’s squad is No. 10 in the country in total defense at 301.3 yards allowed per game.
Special Teams: Louisville. Jaire Alexander returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown against Florida State. Meanwhile, the Hoos gave up a 93-yard kickoff return to Pitt’s Quadree Henderson two weeks ago.
Coaching: Louisville. Petrino is one of the finest offensive minds in the nation.
Intangibles: Louisville. The Cardinals know that they remain in the College Football Playoff mix, so there won’t be any slip-ups here.
Matchup To Watch
Taquen Mizzell vs. Louisville defense
The Cavaliers running back caught nine passes for 89 yards and rushed 14 times for 40 yards in last year’s meeting. On the season, he has rushed 83 times for 461 yards and four touchdowns as well as caught 31 passes for 211 yards. Still, he could be a bigger part of this Cavs offense that is struggling. We know that Mendenhall’s team is going to need to play an almost perfect game to notch an upset. Having Mizzell be a big part of the game plan would be a start.
Spread: Louisville -26
Louisville vs. Virginia Prediction
The Lamar Train will keep chugging along, as a Cavaliers defense that is allowing 456.0 yards per game will be no match for the Louisville offense. Jackson scores on the ground and through the air, and Cavs quarterback Kurt Benkert will have an average game at best. Last week’s game against the Tar Heels was the first contest all season in which the Hoos signal-caller did not throw an interception. The Cards win with relative ease.
Louisville vs. Virginia Score Prediction: Louisville 42, Virginia 16