Virginia vs. Florida State

When: Noon at Scott Stadium, Charlottesville. TV: WDCA-20, WJZ-13.
Radio: WGRQ (95.5 FM),WTNT (570 AM).
Records: Cavaliers 2-1, 0-0 ACC; Seminoles 3-1, 1-0 ACC.


Virginia ranks No. 7 in the nation in scoring defense (12.3 points per game) and has given up 280.3 yards per game, which ranks No. 19 in the country. But after facing two division I-AA opponents in their first three games, the Cavaliers will face a tough test in their ACC opener. The Seminoles are averaging 434.5 yards (No. 1 in the ACC) and 35.3 points (No. 3) per game. Florida State continues to deal with offensive line issues that have contributed to the Seminoles allowing 10 sacks in four games. Left tackle Andrew Datko -- typically the starter -- has missed the past two games with a shoulder injury.


As for Florida State's defense, it is led by a ferocious front line that creates so much pressure on its own that the Seminoles do not often blitz. Florida State -- led by sophomore defensive end Brandon Jenkins -- has compiled a national-best 19 sacks. Virginia fifth-year senior quarterback Marc Verica said the Seminoles' defensive linemen rely mostly on twists and stunts to invade opposing backfields. The Cavaliers' offense has been remarkably balanced -- 107 rushes, 105 passes -- through their first three games, and establishing the run will be imperative Saturday.


Even more so than usual, field position will be a significant factor. Virginia has allowed opponents to average 13.5 yards per punt return, which ranks No. 11 in the ACC and 94th nationally. Florida State's punt returner, sophomore cornerback Greg Reid, led the nation last season with an average of 18.4 yards per return. Reid has not been as consistently potent this season (9.8 yards per return), though he has already returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown.

-- Steve Yanda

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