strength vs. strength

In the past 12 seasons, only once have the Cavaliers been more effective rushing the ball than they have this season, and that was in 2004. Virginia ranks third in the ACC in rushing offense (187.6 yards per game). On Saturday, the Cavaliers’ ground game will face its stiffest test yet when it matches up against a Florida State defense that has allowed fewer rushing yards per game (85) than all but three Football Bowl Subdivision teams. The Seminoles rank first in the ACC in tackles for a loss (7.3 per game) and have held seven of their 10 opponents this season to fewer than 100 rushing yards. Virginia has yet to be held to fewer than 124 rushing yards this year.

manuel a familiar threat

The Cavaliers are plenty familiar with Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel. Coach Mike London’s knowledge of Manuel dates to the quarterback’s days at Bayside High in Virginia Beach. That’s where Manuel once played with current Virginia cornerback Demetrious Nicholson and reserve linebacker Henry Coley. These days, Manuel ranks third in the ACC in passing yards per game (239.1). “There’s no doubt about his physical skills,” London said of the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Manuel. “But also what you see on tape is you see him making good decisions. You see the ball being placed where it needs to be placed.”

cavs going with the veterans

With postseason implications in play during the final two weeks of the regular season, London said he plans to rely on fewer players Saturday and the following week against Virginia Tech. Barring injury, younger players such as tailback Clifton Richardson, quarterback David Watford and safety Anthony Harris will be used much more judiciously than earlier in the fall.

— Steve Yanda

7:30 p.m. at Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee.
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Records: Cavaliers 7-3, 4-2 ACC; Seminoles 7-3, 5-2.