Virginia Pittsburgh Football

Jared WickerhamVirginia cornerback Bryce Hall defends against the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Jared Wickerham)

Quarterbacks

Bryce Perkins’ two touchdown passes last weekend at Pitt marked the 13th time in his Virginia career that he finished a game with multiple touchdowns. He also led UVa with 18 rushing attempts. In his first collegiate start, true freshman Hollis Mathis rushed for 127 yards, which is a single-game William & Mary record. Edge, Virginia.


Running backs

William & Mary’s Owen Wright is stout and built low to the ground. He rushed for two touchdowns last weekend and the Tribe had nine players record at least one carry. To be honest, Virginia’s running backs aren’t much more proven that the Tribe's, but there’s just too many of them. Wayne Taulapapa and Pk Kier are physical, explosive backs, and we haven’t even seen what Lamont Atkins, Chris Sharp, Jamari Peacock and freshman Mike Hollins can do. Edge, Virginia.


Receivers/tight ends

William & Mary’s “GoGo” offense features a heavy dose of the run, but receiver Zach Burdick showed last weekend that he’s a deep threat, turning two receptions into 60 yards. Virginia has lots of options in the passing game. Hasise Dubois and Terrell Chatman showed their physicality last week at Pitt and Joe Reed looked a step faster than a secondary full of NFL prospects. The Cavaliers also get speedy slot receivers Tavares Kelly and Billy Kemp back this week. Edge, Virginia.


Offensive line

Virginia went with a surprise lineup last week, featuring sophomore Ryan Swoboda at left tackle and junior Dillon Reinkensmeyer — last year’s center — at right. Bobby Haskins rotated in at both tackle spots. William & Mary boasts plenty of experience up front, though, led by Greene County native Mark Williamson at right guard, Illinois grad transfer Andrew Trainer at left tackle and three-year starter Nick Wimmer at center. Edge, Push.


Defensive line

Both teams run 3-4 schemes, though Virginia spent a lot of time in the nickel last weekend. Up front, William & Mary is led by tackle Billy Murray and end Carl Fowler, who posted 1.5 sacks last weekend against Lafayette. True freshman Jowon Briggs started last weekend at nose tackle for Virginia, but a healthy rotation of defensive ends Eli Hanback, Richard Burney, Mandy Alonso and Aaron Faumui gave Pittsburgh fits. Edge, Virginia.


Linebackers

Especially with a healthy Jordan Mack, this unit may give Virginia an edge in every game. Mack, Zane Zandier and Rob Snyder all lived in the backfield last week at Pitt, and outside linebacker Charles Snowden was all over the field making tackle after tackle. The Tribe is led by two-time team captain Nate Atkins, three-year starter Arman Jones and sophomore Trey Watkins, who posted a career-high 10 tackles at Lafayette. Edge, Virginia.


Secondary

William & Mary’s strength lies in the secondary, where two-time All-CAA cornerback Corey Parker and all-conference safety Isaiah Laster roam. Virginia’s secondary is coming off a pretty dominant effort against Pitt. Safety Joey Blount posted two sacks and an interception, safeties Brenton Nelson and De’Vante Cross were all over the field making tackles and cornerback Bryce Hall added a sack and a fourth-quarter pass breakup. Edge, Virginia.


Special teams

Orange County native Kris Hooper is in his third season as the Tribe's kicker, and William & Mary turns to Wright and wide receiver Jordan Lowery in the return game. Last weekend, Virginia’s Brian Delaney went 3-for-4 on field goals, including one from 45 yards – one shy of his career long. Joe Reed looked explosive on kick returns and Chuck Davis was sure-handed on punts. Edge, Virginia.

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Ron Counts covers University of Virginia athletics for The Daily Progress.​ Contact him at rcounts@dailyprogress.com, (434) 978-7245, or on Twitter @Ron_CDPsports.

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