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Boston College Football Opponent Preview: The Virginia Cavaliers

They had a tough 2016 season, could UVA be on the way up?

NCAA Football: Virginia at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Team: Virginia Cavaliers

SBNation Site: Streaking The Lawn

Game Date, Location: October 21st at Charlottesville

2016 Record: 2-10

2016 Overall Offense Ranking: 112th

2016 Overall Defense Ranking: 93rd

Bill Connolly’s Projected S&P: 70th

Last 2 Matchups: Boston College 17 UVA 13 (2010), Boston College 14 UVA 10 (2009)

Key Players: Quarterback Kurt Benkert is returning after a relatively solid junior campaign under new head coach Bronco Mendenhall. The junior threw for 2,552 yards with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He certainly could be a quarterback that takes a big step in the right direction this season and is not someone who should be taken lightly. In terms of running backs Connolly projects that Jordan Ellis will be the primary ball carrier this season. He wasn’t very effective last year averaging just over three yards a carry after an explosive 36 yard first carry against William and Mary. UVA has a pair of dynamic receivers, Olamide Zaccheaus and Doni Dowling, both with 50+ catches and a combined 11 touchdowns last year. The offensive line lost three players due to graduation last year, but brought in Everett’s John Montelus from Notre Dame and Brandon Pertile from Oklahoma State.

On the defensive side of the ball, UVA will have a formidable front seven. Linebackers Micah Kiser and defensive lineman Andrew Brown bring back experience and can make game altering plays. Former five star recruit Quin Blanding is a force on defense, and could be primed to have a breakout season at defensive back. The defense is certainly seasoned as UVA brings back many of their starters with Jordan Mack, tackle James Trucilla, and ends Eli Hanback, Steven Wright, and Juwan Moye all returning.

Why Boston College Will Win This Game: If Boston College can get any semblance of a passing game going they will be able to put up points against the Cavaliers defense. The Cavs had an S&P ranked #89 passing defense, so if Darius Wade/Anthony Brown can get the ball moving they should be able to score. On the other end of the ball, UVA’s offense is very suspect and if BC can force them into being a one dimensional offense, throwing the ball often, they are going to be able to make plays with Harold Landry, Zach Allen getting hits on the QB, while forcing passes that could lead to turnovers.

Why Boston College Will Not Win This Game: A lot of this game depends on how much this Cavalier squad improves over last year. Bronco Mendenhall is a hell of a coach, and I thik Berkert is a solid quarterback that can make plays. If they can turn this game into a shootout, I don’t think BC will win this game. A lot of this game is going to depend on how UVA’s offensive line can contain BC’s front seven. If they can neutralize Harold Landry et al, BC could struggle.

AJ’s Odds BC Wins This Game: 65%. BC matches up well against the Cavaliers, and Charlottesville is not a house of horrors to play in on the road. I think BC will go in and dictate the game on defense, and move the ball well enough to put some points on the board. I expect BC to jump out to an early lead, and then sit on Jon Hilliman, A.J. Dillon and Davon Jones to preserve the lead and escape with a win.