College Football Preview: Duke at Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. ó Virginia is shooting higher now that is it bowl eligible for the first time since 2007.
The Cavaliers (6-3, 3-2 ACC) host Duke today, and the Blue Devils (3-6, 1-4) will likely arrive at Scott Stadium feeling pretty good for a team that has lost four in a row. That’s because they have won the last three against Virginia.
“I’m not going to lie,” Cavaliers linebacker Aaron Taliferro said when asked if it’s galling to have lost three in a row to Duke. He added, however, that both teams have been fighting for respect in recent seasons, and that a victory on Saturday is critical in Virginia’s push.
The new goal, Virginia’s players said this week, is winning the ACC championship.
To have that shot, they probably need to beat Duke and then win at Florida State next Saturday, setting up a winner-take-all showdown with No. 10 Virginia Tech for the Coastal Division berth in the title game. Their focus, though, is ending their skid against Duke.
“This is a big game for us to go where we want to go,” linebacker Steve Greer said.
It’s also big for the Blue Devils, who haven’t given up on reaching a bowl game. They would need to win Saturday, and then also beat No. 20 Georgia Tech and win at North Carolina.
They haven’t won four in a row against Virginia since 1974-78, but haven’t lost since David Cutcliffe arrived as head coach in 2008.
The way Cutcliffe sees it, the Cavaliers need to just keep playing the way they have been.
“Virginia’s doing kind of original recipe, how you win games. They’re running the ball, playing really good defense, and playing in the kicking game,” he said. “And that’s how you win games.
“They’re 6-3, we’re 3-6. They’ve won their winnable games. We haven’t.”