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2021 Wake Forest Football Opponent Preview: Virginia Cavaliers

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 14 Louisville at Virginia Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After starting the first 3 games at home, in Week 4 the Demon Deacons head up to Charlottesville to take on the Virginia Cavaliers in a matchup that at this point in time looks to be a slight toss-up.

Game Date: Friday, September 24th, 2021

Opponent: Virginia Cavaliers

Conference: ACC

Head Coach: Bronco Mendenhall (30-32)

2020 Stats

Record: 5-5, 4-6

Highest Ranking: N/A

Post-Season: N/A

Wins: Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Abilene Christian, Boston College

Losses: Clemson, NC State, Wake Forest, Miami, Virginia Tech

Yards per Game: 423.3

Yards Allowed per Game: 442.9

Points per Game: 30.7

Points Allowed per Game: 29.6

The game against UVA was.. a tale of two halves.

While the probability pre and post-game probabilities showed a game Wake should’ve, and did win, it wasn’t easy. After both teams put up 20 points each in the first half, inefficiencies and great defense showed up to stifle both offenses. In the case of UVA, a little of both. Let this be a reminder that Lindell Stone(an absolute hoss of a human being) was filling in for Brennan Armstrong, who barring injury will be the starter for the Hoos and is a much better quarterback. This game served as the start of a stretch where the Wake defense played lights out, only allowing 165 yards and 3 points in the second half on 8 drives.

I’m actually pretty bullish on UVA being a good team, at least better than the consensus this year. I see the negatives: they haven’t shown much of a running game outside of Armstrong scrambling, losing Terrell Jana and Tony Poljan as primary pass-catchers hurts, and they got continuously torched through the air last year. They landed a pretty good haul in the transfer portal with the likes of TE Jelani Woods(who will be in the NFL next year), DB Josh Hayes from North Dakota State, and DB Anthony Johnson. The linebacker room with Noah Taylor and Nick Jackson is one of the best in the country, while the offensive line returns all 5 starters from a hefty unit last year. If this defense can shore things up in the secondary, they could easily be an 8+ win team.

With that being said, this one will be a tricky one for both teams. This should be a fairly even matchup to Vegas and on the field, but these two teams look to come in on two wildly different paths. How Wake opens the season has been documented, and in all honesty, there isn’t a good reason that Wake shouldn’t be 3-0 coming into this game. UVA opens with a tougher slate of games. William & Mary should be an easy warmup for them, Illinois is a bit of a mystery but should still be winnable. The awkward thing about the game against Wake is that it’s precariously positioned between trips to Chapel Hill and Miami. It’s very easy to see that stretch going multiple ways, good and bad, so there will be a fair amount of eyes checking in to see how UVA shows up.

Currently, I have Wake coming out on top, just due to the fact that we still have questions on how Virginia will be able to stop potent passing attacks and Wake has honestly done well in the past against one-dimensional offenses, which right now UVA is