- Time: Friday, 6:00 p.m. MT
- Location: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA
- Weather: 63 degrees, Overcast
- Odds: Boise State by 2.5
- TV: ESPN
- Commentators: Dave "The Lemming" Flemming, Mack "Drawlin'" Brown, and Allison "Wonderland" Williams
1. Mixed bag
Virginia is just 1-2 on the season, but have "lost pretty" in the eyes of many observers. They hung with a top 10 UCLA squad in their opener and nearly knocked off the 6th ranked Fighting Irish the following week. Then last week happened. Strong showings against teams they were heavy 'dogs to had people hopeful that UVa was about to put it all together and then they nearly were upset by William and Mary...a school that sounds like a CBS sitcom. Virginia has the pieces to be good, but obviously haven't figured out that whole consistency thing yet.
2. Frequent flyer miles
The Broncos are hoping jet lag won't be a problem on Friday night as they will have to travel approximately 2,000 miles to take on the Cavaliers. All told, it's the 10th longest road trip in the country this season if you don't count Hawaii. Finally a chance for Mario Yakoo to get in some quality Angry Birds time.
3. Takeaway drought
Virginia is one of a handful of teams in the country with no takeaways for the year—we're talking zero interceptions and zero fumble recoveries. This either bodes extremely well for the Broncos or they're about to be on the receiving end of a cosmic "make good" on Friday.
Boise State - Won 1
UVa - Won 1
Don't cross them.
Best name on their roster
Freshman OLB Gladimir Paul
Best player picture on their roster
Senior TE Rob Burns who looks surprisingly similar to the "high guy" internet meme
Players to watch
A 2nd team All-ACC pick a year ago, the 6'2" senior CB figures to be even better this season...and he's already proven to be a game changer—returning a punt for a TD in UVa's squeaker win over William and Mary...points that ended up being the difference in the contest. Canady should have no problem matching up with Boise State's smallish receivers, stature-wise and they'd be wise to not toss jump balls in his direction. Canady is on the 2015 Nagurski Trophy watch list.
Johns, a junior QB for the Cavaliers hasn't been amazing this season, but he's provided a lot more production than the Boise State quarterbacks can boast. At 6'5", Johns is unlikely to lose sight of passing lanes, and he's currently boasting better than 65% efficiency with his passing. He had an 80 yard TD strike a week ago, which should concern Bronco fans still having coverage-breakdown nightmares from the BYU game.
The junior running back has only rushed for 155 combined yards in the Cavaliers first 3 outings of the season, and he's unlikely to "go off" against an extremely stout Boise State front seven, HOWEVER, Mizzell isn't your typical running back. The Cavaliers love to use Mizell as a receiving target out of the backfield and he's already had two games (out of three, mind you) where's he's gone for better than 100 yards through the air. Remember that 80 yard TD strike that Matt Johns threw against William and Mary? Guess who was on the receiving end of that TD (hint: it wasn't Gladimir Paul)...
The senior wideout is one of Virginia's team captains and is already on pace to smash last season's yardage total of 578 yards. Two opponents on the year have limited Severin's damage, but against Notre Dame he went crazy and had 153 receiving yards (I know...you'd hoped it had been against William and Mary). Severin has good size (6'2" 205 lbs) and is a real leader on the Cavalier squad...keep this guy accounted for or pay the consequences.
This sophomore safety was a 2nd team All-ACC defender a season ago and already has set a torrid tackle pace for 2015—25 through 3 games. Blanding was a Freshman All-American after his 2014 campaign and made about every defensive watch list you can imagine. None of these accolades should be a surprise to those who follow recruiting—Blanding was a consensus FIVE star recruit and fielded offers from just about every school of consequence. This kid is a future superstar.
Players to NOT watch
As good as Matt Johns is, the Broncos are probably happy to not be contending with last season's starter Greyson Lambert, who transferred to Georgia and last week went 24 of 25 passing against South Carolina. The Broncos might also be pleased that they don't have to contend with the LB/DE duo of Henry Coley and Eli Harold—All-ACC second teamers on defense in 2014.
Keys to victory
- Get the run game going. The Cavaliers rank 91st in the country in rush defense which will make it all the more disappointing if the Bronco O-line once again struggles.
- Limit turnovers. Yeah, I know I said that Virginia has yet to have a takeaway this season, but that just means they're due...and breaking in a brand new QB on the road is generally a good time to get off the schneid in that department.
- Know your assignments. The Broncos had a host of miscues in their lone loss this season, but the most glaring were the defensive breakdowns in the secondary. Virginia does have the receiving weapons to take down the Broncos if they don't play sound in their assignments.
- Score more points. Whether it's a LOT more points, like against Idaho State or just a few more points like against Washington...this just works, people.
Boise State 27, Virginia 21