Virginia Louisville Football

Virginia wide receiver Joe Reed carries the ball against Louisville last Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Virginia

» Hit explosive plays: Virginia’s offense needs a jump start. Sustaining drives with a poor rushing attack and inconsistent offensive line hasn’t been working. Virginia needs wide receivers Joe Reed and Hasise Dubois to find open space and make plays down the field in the passing game.

» Hurry Howell: Freshman quarterback Sam Howell leads the ACC in passing touchdowns with 22. Howell boasts a strong arm, and he’s mobile. When he’s given time to survey the field, he’s electric. Virginia, which ranks fourth nationally in sacks per game, needs to pressure Howell into making freshman decisions.

» Create havoc: The turnover battle will be a key indicator to whether or not UVa will win this game. The Cavaliers don’t have the offensive firepower to make up for a large turnover deficit. UVa needs to create turnovers and take care of the ball Saturday or the road woes will continue.

North Carolina

» Make Virginia tackle in space: Virginia tackles well for the most part, but Louisville used its speedy skill position players to bust a few chunk plays in last week’s win. UNC’s Dazz Newsome is one of the most dangerous receivers in the conference, and the Tar Heels will likely try to get him and other skill players in space. UVa tackles well, but it only takes one missed tackle to spring a big play and chance the course of the game.

» Pressure Perkins: UVa quarterback Bryce Perkins injured his knee against Louisville, and he’s been battered this season. Virginia’s offensive line remains a weak spot for the Cavaliers. The Tar Heels should do anything they can to force Perkins out of the pocket. While he’s a dynamic scrambler, he’s made a few uncharacteristically poor decisions outside of the pocket this season.

» Generate a big third quarter: In their three losses, the Cavaliers haven’t scored a single third-quarter point. North Carolina can take control of a close halftime contest with a big third quarter. Unfortunately for UNC, the third quarter is its lowest scoring quarter of the season.

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