Welcome back to our newest football feature, Opponent Watch, where we recap the weekend's results of the other teams on Virginia's remaining schedule, to help the fans develop an understanding of what's upcoming. Additionally, this week we unveil our ACC Coastal Power Rankings, now that everyone's played 3 or 4 games, including most with at least one ACC game.
Hoo Matchup Date/Location: Sat, 10/13 @ UVA
This week's result: Won 47-10 vs North Carolina (Home)
Miami's defense ruled the day in this Thursday night blowout. The 'Canes got three defensive touchdowns, meaning they beat UNC 21-10 all by themselves, and gathering six total turnovers from the Heels over the course of the game. The Miami offense was ho-hum, only generating 354 yards of total offense, though thanks to the defensive TDs, it really didn't have a ton of possessions to begin with, and when it did, didn't have a lot of yards to cover. New 'Canes QB N'Kosa Perry looked okay in his first game as the starter, 8/12 for 125 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. The running game shredded the Heels, 229 yards on only 33 attempts. UNC is kind of a mess right now, so Miami's dominance was expected. They get their chance to beat up on FSU next week.
Record: 4-1 (1-0)
Hoo Matchup Date/Location: Sat, 10/20 @ Duke
This week's result: Lost 31-14 vs Virginia Tech (Home)
This was a disappointing result for Duke, who'd been ranked coming into this game. Duke QB Daniel Jones returned early from a broken collarbone, having missed the last two weeks, but just never quite got comfortable. His stats looked okay (23/35 for 226 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), but given the way VT sold out against the run, he couldn't capitalize for more scoring, also taking a number of sacks. Duke's running game was nonexistent, 71 yards on 36 attempts plus a fumble, explaining their inability to sustain drive. The defense was equally guilty, unable to take advantage of VT's 1st-time starter, and let him throw all over the field to the tune of 332 yards and 3 TDs. Duke needs to use this bye week to get Jones clicking again in the offense.
Record: 4-1 (0-1)
Matchup Date/Location: Sat, 10/27 @ UVA
This week's result: Lost 10-47 vs Miami (Away)
They expected to lose to Miami, but not necessarily this badly on national TV. UNC's offense came absolutely unglued, with six turnovers being attributed to the QB position. Starter Nathan Elliott went 16/25 for a measely 104 yards (4 ypa), and coughed up three lost fumbles. Backup QB Chazz Surratt went 4/10 for just 10 yards and threw three interceptions. The only remotely bright spot was UNC's underutilized run game, where Michael Carter got 75 yards on just 7 carries, and Surratt chipped in another 69 on 9 carries. The defense never stood a chance, even in its limited opportunities, struggling to contain either Miami's passing game or running game. This is just one they need to forget and take advantage of their bye this week before hosting VT next week. We'll have to wait to see if there's now a full fledged QB controversy in Chapel Hill.
Record: 1-3 (1-1)
Hoo Matchup Date/Location: Fri, 11/2 @ UVA
This week's result: Lost 45-14 Central Florida (Away)
Pitt got thoroughly outplayed by the #13 ranked AAC powerhouse. QB Kenny Pickett never got going consistently, completing a fair 16/26 for 163 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT, but got sacked repeatedly and could only earn 16 1st downs on the day. The running game barely broke 100 yards, though the RBs had a decent average on the few carries they did get. Ultimately, the defense was the culprit here, surrendering 568 total yards, allowing the Knights to convert 10 of 18 on 3rd and 4th downs. They were equally ineffective against the run and the pass, and failed to score a single turnover. UCF did whatever it wanted all day long; Pitt welcomes the upstart Syracuse next week in an attempt to get back on track.
Record: 2-3 (1-1)
Hoo Matchup Date/Location: Sat, 11/10 @ UVA
This week's result: Won 52-43 vs New Mexico (Away)
Liberty went across a few time zones to play at Mountain West middleweight New Mexico and came away with a 52-43 win. Flames QB Stephen Calvert flung it for big stats (417 yards, 3 TDs), though only average completion percentage (24/41, 58%) and an INT. Liberty struggled to run the ball, however, failing to break 100 yards as a team on 43 attempts. The Flames were imressive converting downs, though, hitting on 12 of 26 on 3rd and 4th downs. New Mexico also put up a ton of yards (the two teams combined for well over 1100 yards of total offense), but the Flames were able to pick off the Lobos 4 times, which proved the difference.
Matchup Date/Location: Sat, 11/17 @ GT
This week's result: Won 63-17 vs Bowling Green (Home)
The last cupcake blowout we should see from our ACC opponents for a while, GT looked good throughout this game, scoring at least 2 TDs in each quarter. The Jackets split time at QB in this one, with mixed results. Incumbent starter Taquon Marshall excelled through the air, 5/6 for 160 yards, but struggled running in the option, 13 carries for only 42 yards. Backup QB Tobias Oliver didn't complete a pass, but did total 115 yards on the ground on only 9 keeps. The defense did allow almost 400 yards of BG offense, including an embarassing 13 of 22 conversions on 3rd and 4th downs, but collected 3 TOs to limit the scoreboard damage. GT needs to score a win over struggling Louisville next week to salvage its year.
Record: 2-3 (0-2)
Hoo Matchup Date/Location: Fri, 11/23 @ VT
This week's result: Won 31-14 vs Duke (Away)
Virginia Tech bounced back from their ODU upset, the loss of their starting QB, and the dismissal of their star DE in fine fashion. New QB Ryan Willis was sharp throughout the game, accurately totalling 332 yards and 3 TDs and efficiently picking apart a Duke defense that keyed on VT's rushing attack. VT's defense was also in fine form, collecting two turnovers, holding Duke to 25% on third downs (4 of 16), and shutting down their ground game (only 71 yards allowed). Big game next week hosting Notre Dame where we'll see just how strongly this VT team has bounced back.
Record: 3-1 (2-0)
Coastal Division Power Rankings
2. Virginia Tech
5. North Carolina
7. Georgia Tech
No real change here from last week other than flipping VT and Duke based on VT's convincing win. There's definitely clear separation between the top 3 and bottom 4 at this juncture.