» Rattle N’Kosi Perry: Perry is no stranger to college football after starting six games last season, but the redshirt sophomore lacks consistency. He threw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns last week against Virginia Tech, but Perry faces a much tougher test against Virginia. The Hurricanes’ offensive line allows five sacks per game, which is one of the worst marks in the nation. Virginia ranks among the nation’s elite at rushing the passer. If the Cavaliers get to Perry, they can force him to make mistakes.
» Protect Bryce Perkins: After getting sacked eight times against Notre Dame, few people were as thankful for a bye week as Bryce Perkins. He has underwhelmed at times this season, but he looked solid against the Fighting Irish in the few instances when he received a clean pocket. If Perkins stays upright, Joe Reed and Hasise Dubois can find space against Miami’s secondary.
» Limit big plays: Miami scored three touchdowns that spanned at least 25 yards in its loss to Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers need to play solid, consistent defense against the Hurricanes. If UVa forces Perry and Miami’s shaky offensive line to sustain drives, the Hurricanes won’t light up the scoreboard.
» Contain Bryce Perkins: As Perkins goes, so goes Virginia’s offense. He accounts for 74% of UVa’s total scrimmage yards, and the team doesn’t find much offensive success outside of its passing game and the occasional Perkins scrambles. If Miami can keep Perkins in check, the Hurricanes have the firepower on both sides of the ball to win.
» Start fast: UVa tends to be a second-half team, despite a rocky final 30 minutes at Notre Dame. The Cavaliers outscored Pitt 17-0 after halftime, and they outscored Florida State 21-10 in the second half. That’s a +28 point differential to close out ACC games. Miami fell behind 28-0 last weekend before storming back to nearly beat Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes can’t afford a slow start Friday.
» Control the clock: Virginia and Miami lead the ACC in time of possession. Both teams like getting off the field quickly on defense and maintaining possession. If Miami can put UVa’s defense on the field for more than 30 minutes, it could wear the Cavaliers down, making them more susceptible to a quick-strike touchdown. On the other hand, Virginia’s offense could slowly grind down the Miami defense before posting another strong second half. Keep an eye on the time of possession battle Friday.