Following back-to-back wins, Virginia finds itself with a 4-2 overall record and a 2-2 mark in ACC play. Meanwhile, Duke enters the week searching for its first conference victory of the season after falling short at home versus Georgia Tech last week. The Blue Devils come in with a 3-3 overall record but are 0-2 versus ACC competition.
Can Duke earn its first ACC win on the road at Virginia on Saturday?
Duant's big day not enough for Duke vs. GA TechDuke was unable to finish off its comeback effort against Georgia Tech last weekend, falling short at home 31-27. Quarterback Gunnar Holmberg completed 22-of-29 passes for 292 yards with two touchdowns and one interception on the day while running back Mataeo Durant finished with 152 rushing yards and a touchdown in the loss. After taking a late lead, Duke allowed the Yellow Jackets to drive 88 yards in less than a minute for the game-winning score.
Holmberg has flashed some promise in his first full season under center for the Blue Devils. Through six games, the 6-foot-3 senior has completed 72.5 percent of his passes for 1,616 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s also added six rushing scores but has yet to find the end zone on the ground during ACC competition.
Instead, Durant has carried the load on offense for Duke, rushing for at least 100 yards in each of his last four games. The senior running back has already surpassed his touchdown total from a year ago. He’s rushed for 788 yards with a career-high nine rushing touchdowns already in 2021. Durant has also been more of a factor in the passing game this season, catching 13 balls for 182 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield.
On defense, the Blue Devils have given up 28.8 points per game and 430.8 yards of total offense per contest. Stopping the run has been a major challenge for Duke this season. It has allowed a whopping 167.3 yards per game on the ground, which ranks 89th in the FBS.
Virginia uses fourth-quarter comeback to edge LouisvilleVirginia rallied past Louisville 34-33 behind a fourth-quarterback comeback led by quarterback Brennan Armstrong. The junior quarterback completed 40-of-60 passes for 487 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions on the day. Rashaun Henry caught nine passes for 179 yards while Keytaon Thompson caught 10 balls for 149 yards for the Cavaliers, who outscored Louisville 21-3 in the decisive final quarter.
Armstrong has now thrown for an FBS-best 2,460 yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions so far this season. The 6-foot-2 signal-caller has thrown for at least 400 yards in four of the team’s six games this season but has also thrown at least one interception in five consecutive contests.
On defense, Virginia has surrendered 28.5 points per game and 427.8 yards of total offense per contest. The Cavaliers’ defense has been unable to stop the run in 2021, allowing 201.2 yards per game on the ground, 113th in the FBS.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Virginia has had some problems stopping the run this season. For all their offensive prowess, the Cavaliers are still giving up a whopping 39.3 points per game during ACC play and they could have some trouble getting stops against an improving Duke offense. Durant has been one of the most underrated running backs in the country and the Blue Devils showed that they aren’t afraid of leaning on their senior, giving him the rock 43 times last week. Expect another big game on the ground for the Blue Devils here and take Duke to cover the spread on the road in this ACC showdown on Saturday afternoon.
Full-Game Total Pick
These two ACC rivals are projected for 70 points but that number could be a reach in this spot. Virginia’s offense hasn’t been as explosive versus ACC competition. The Cavaliers are averaging just 30 points per game in four ACC games and they have given up nearly 40 points per game on the other side of the ball. Duke has been able to hold its own defensively as well, so look to this game to stay under the projected total on Saturday afternoon.