Virginia-TCU football preview

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DAUNTING TEST: Before the season began, Virginia Coach Mike London knew his team faced a much more challenging nonconference schedule than a year ago. But coming off a blowout loss at Georgia Tech last week, the last thing the Cavaliers needed was perhaps their toughest game of the season. That, though, is exactly what they face when they travel to No. 17 TCU. Virginia hasn’t won a road game against an opponent this highly ranked since 1994.

DEFENSIVE RECOVERY? Virginia’s defense allowed more yards last week against the Yellow Jackets (594) than it had since the 1999 MicronPC.com Bowl. The question is whether that was a function of Georgia Tech’s unorthodox offensive scheme or the first signs of weakness for a unit that some feared would be a weakness during the preseason. The answer could come against TCU’s high-powered but more traditional offense. The Cavaliers already caught a break when TCU announced this week that leading rusher Waymon James would miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

BALANCED APPROACH? Virginia’s offense has been underwhelming, particularly when it comes to running the ball. Teams are loading the box with extra defenders to slow down tailbacks Perry Jones and Kevin Parks, and the interior offensive line has struggled to open up holes. The Cavaliers expect more of the same facing TCU’s 4-2-5 defense, but they’ll need to establish a running game.

— Mark Giannotto

Noon at Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth.

TV: ESPN. Radio. WSPZ (570 AM). Records: Cavaliers 2-1; Frogs 2-0.

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