Blue Ridge Bank Wahoo Preview: Virginia at Wake Forest

Virginia hopes to get back in the win column Saturday, as the Cavaliers visit Wake Forest in an important conference matchup at 4 p.m. on ACC Network. The Wahoos fell to 1-2 last week after never recovering from a 24-0 deficit to NC State, losing starting quarterback Brennan Armstrong in the process in the second quarter.

Senior reserve Lindell Stone will get the nod if Armstrong can’t play Saturday, and it’s looking highly unlikely at this point. Stone stepped in and delivered a career performance against the Wolfpack, passing for 240 yards and 3 touchdowns, and did all of it in catch-up mode.

UVA offensive coordinator Robert Anae knows that playing from behind equals putting a ton of pressure on a quarterback, particularly one who was only in on a small percentage of the first-team reps in practice across the week leading up to the game.

Anae and Stone’s teammates are confident in his abilities, and most of all have raved about his football IQ. Stone may not be the typical dual-threat, mobile Virginia “Thorterback” by any means, but he has the backing of the program to lead the offense against Wake.

The Demon Deacons (1-2, 0-2 ACC) haven’t played in two weeks after clobbering Campbell, an FCS school, in their lone non-conference affair, 66-14, on Oct. 2.

Wake has lost to the same two teams that the Cavaliers lost to — Clemson and NC State.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Hartman leads the Wake offense, and he’s got plenty of young, talented playmakers in the huddle to get the ball to, despite losing a ton of experience and production from last season’s eight-win team.

Hartman and the Deacons will use a lot of run-pass option plays to keep the Wahoo defense guessing, which for UVA means finding a balance between being overly aggressive and being disciplined and fundamentally sound.

Wake boasts a pair of exceptional 5-foot-10 running backs in Christian Beal-Smith and Kenneth Walker III, both of whom rushed for over 100 yards against Campbell. Both Beal-Smith and Walker have scored 4 touchdowns on the season and are quick, shifty backs that can slip out of tackles.

Coach Dave Clawson’s squad features several capable receivers after losing five of their top six in that category off of last year’s team. Jaquarii Roberson (188 yards receiving), Taylor Morin (165), AT Perry (141) and Donavon Greene (125) are all downfield threats to keep an eye on.

The Hoos are expected to have senior free safety and Campbell Trophy semifinalist Joey Blount back in the mix after missing the NC State game with an injury. His physicality, tackling ability, experience, tight coverage and leadership was sorely missed in the 38-21 loss.

Wake is anchored defensively by Carlos “Boogie” Basham Jr., a Roanoke native who leads the Deacons with 3 sacks, along with leading tackler Ja’Cquez Williams.

Here’s a look at where each team ranks in the statistical categories of the 15-team ACC:

For more, check out our Wahoo World podcast for a deeper dive into Saturday’s game, recap of the NC State loss and preview of this weekend’s big ACC contests.

The Breakdown

Below you’ll find the complete statistical comparison between the Cavaliers and Demon Deacons:

The Coaches

UVA — Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall
5th season at Virginia (26-29); 16th season overall (125-72); Record vs. Wake: 0-1

Bronco Mendenhall (Photo: Matt Riley, UVA Athletics)

Assistant Coaches:
Offensive Coordinator/Inside Receivers — Robert Anae
Co-Defensive Coordinator/Secondary — Nick Howell
Co-Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers — Kelly Poppinga
Running Backs — Mark Atuaia
Quarterbacks — Jason Beck
Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends — Ricky Brumfield
Wide Receivers — Marques Hagans
Inside Linebackers — Shane Hunter
Defensive Line — Clint Sintim
Offensive Line — Garett Tujague

Wake Forest — Head Coach Dave Clawson
8th season at WFU (37-42); 21st season overall (127-122); Record vs. UVA: 1-0

Dave Clawson (Photo: Wake Forest Athletics)

Assistant Coaches:
Associate HC/Receivers — Kevin Higgins
Defensive Line — Dave Cohen
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks — Warren Ruggiero
Defensive Coordinator/Safeties — Lyle Hemphill
Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends — Wayne Lineburg
Asst. Special Teams Coordinator/Nickelbacks — Ryan Crawford
Running Backs — John Hunter
Offensive Line — Nick Tabacca
Cornerbacks — Paul Williams
Linebackers — Greg Jones

Broadcast Information

ACC NetworkTV: ACC Network
Announcers: Wes Durham (play-by-play), Eric Wood (analyst), Jerry Punch (sideline)
Radio: Virginia Sports Network
Announcers: Dave Koehn (play-by-play), Tony Covington (analyst)
Satellite Radio:
Sirius Channel — 137
XM Channel — 380
Internet Channel — 970

Kickoff Forecast

Sunny, 61 degrees
Precipitation — 0%
Wind — E 5 mph
Humidity — 34%
(Courtesy AccuWeather)

The Depth Charts

Virginia:

Wake Forest:

UVA Offensive Player Stats

UVA Defensive Player Stats

UVA Special Teams Stats

ACC Standings/Schedule

The Uniforms

Virginia: White helmets, White jerseys, White pants

Wake Forest: Gold helmets, Black jerseys, Black pants

Game Tape

Highlights from each team’s last contest

Virginia — lost to NC State, 38-21:

Wake Forest — defeated Campbell, 66-14, on Oct. 2:

Game-Week Links

In case you missed any of our coverage from this week or team previews/features over the offseason, we’ve got you covered. Click on any link below to catch up:

What’s wrong with UVA’s defense? Havoc disappeared against NC State

If Armstrong can’t practice Thursday, he’s out of lineup for Wake

UVA’s Ronnie Walker Jr. is immediately eligible

If Armstrong can’t go, Virginia’s running game has to step up

Stone steps in as UVA’s starting QB if Armstrong can’t answer the bell

What can Virginia possibly do to avoid slow starts in the future?

 

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