Virginia (2-7, 1-4 ACC) at No. 11 Louisville (8-1, 5-1, No. 11 CFP), Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: Louisville by 20 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series: Louisville leads, 6-5.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Louisville can move closer toward a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game and perhaps clinch it with a victory and a North Carolina loss. Virginia aims to halt a two-game slide and bounce back from a 28-point loss to Georgia Tech.
Louisville’s defense ranks second in the ACC (285.2 yards per game allowed) and has been stout recently in holding its past five opponents below 300 yards. The Cardinals were especially stingy against Duke and Virginia Tech, denying each a touchdown and limiting them to a combined 348 yards. They’ve also recorded 14 sacks over the past three games. Virginia comes in ranked seventh in the ACC in passing (241.7 yards per game) and eighth in total offense (361.9) but has to do major work to crack through. It’s uncertain whether Tony Muskett or true freshman Anthony Colandrea will start at quarterback for the Cavs.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Virginia receiver Malik Washington leads the ACC with 79 receptions and 1,044 yards, along with 116.0 yards per game. His catches and yardage rank in the top three nationally. Washington has reached 1,000 in nine games, the fastest in school history, and is 160 yards from breaking Dontayvion Wicks’ single-season mark set two years ago.
Louisville running back Isaac Guerendo had a career day rushing against Virginia Tech with 146 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries. The Wisconsin transfer showed his explosiveness on each score as he rocketed through big holes and twice leapt into the end zone. Guerendo’s breakout demonstrated the depth of Louisville’s backfield, led by Jawhar Jordan (881 yards) and including Maurice Turner.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Five of Virginia’s losses have come by four points or fewer, including three in ACC play by three points each. ... The Cavaliers will face their third ranked opponent this season; they beat then- No. 10 North Carolina 31-27 last month. ... Virginia is 69-59-1 in night games. ... Louisville seeks its first nine-win season since 2016. ... The Cardinals have outscored opponents 69-7 in the first quarter. ... QB Jack Plummer is 22 of 27 passing for 258 yards the past two games, including 11 of 12 for 141 yards against Virginia Tech. ... DL Ashton Gillotte has 8 1/2 sacks and ranks seventh nationally at 0.94 per game.
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