Akron at No. 12 Virginia
Another Top QB: Like North Carolina's Darian Durant last week, Akron quarterback Charlie Frye is the key to his team's slim chances of upsetting the Cavaliers. The 6-foot-4 senior, likened by Virginia Coach Al Groh to recent ACC stars Matt Schaub and Philip Rivers, ranks fourth among active NCAA quarterbacks with 9,048 career passing yards. In losses the past two weeks to Penn State and Middle Tennessee, Frye completed 60 of 80 passes for 622 yards. Weather permitting, he will present a challenge for an inexperienced Virginia secondary that made a few too many errors in deep coverage in its first two games.
Mucking It Up: Facing an Akron defense that allowed Penn State to rush for 352 yards, Virginia's powerful running game (585 yards in two games) likely will be turned loose again in what is expected to be rainy conditions at Scott Stadium. Quarterback Marques Hagans likely won't need to throw too often, but he will need to make sure he does not have problems exchanging wet footballs with center Zac Yarbrough or the running backs. That shouldn't be a problem, Groh said, because Hagans, even at 5 feet 10, has large hands.
Tricky Scheme: The Zips' base defense includes five defensive backs, a look Virginia saw from Wake Forest in past seasons and from Temple two weeks ago. But Akron's scheme, Groh said, is most similar to what West Virginia ran against the Cavaliers in the 2002 Continental Tire Bowl.
Seats Repaired: Upper-deck sections 530 through 536 will be open as usual after workers completed repairs on the 3,200 bleacher seats that came loose from their concrete moorings during last week's game.
-- Jim Reedy
Duke at Virginia Tech
Historic Moment: Tech coaches have seemed a bit more intense than usual, not wanting to botch the school's first game in the ACC by losing to 25-point underdog Duke. The Blue Devils lead the series, 7-4. Tech won the last game, 27-0, at Blacksburg in 1984.
Frosh Encores: All five of Tech's touchdown passes this season have been caught by freshmen or redshirt freshmen. Freshmen scored six of the Hokies' nine touchdowns last week in the 63-0 rout of Western Michigan, with Eddie Royal scoring on a flanker reverse and pass from quarterback Bryan Randall.
Tailback Tandem: The success of the passing game last week ought to open space for redshirt junior tailbacks Cedric Humes and Justin Hamilton. Humes's left ankle seems completely mended from spring surgery. Hamilton had his first rushing touchdown last week after being switched from wide receiver in the spring as insurance when Humes was hurt.
Point of No Return: Walk-on freshman Jared Develli (Park View) has produced four touchbacks on his 11 kickoffs over two games.
Handy Man: Senior defensive tackle Jim Davis had a sack against Southern Cal, upping his career total to 14.5, and a blocked field goal try last week against Western Michigan.
-- Ken Denlinger