Virginia Cavaliers College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Virginia Cavaliers Biggest Key: Offense
Turnovers. With the way this coaching staff and this program works, it all ties together.
Keep the penalties to a minimum – that’s not a problem – play tough D, and take advantage of every opportunity. But last year’s team struggled with its consistency and failed to keep the chains moving. Worst of all, the turnovers were a killer.
There’s just no margin for error with Virginia – when it comes to errors.
Virginia lost the turnover battle five times last year. It lost all five games. It won the turnover battle five times. It won all five games.
The program has lost its last nine games when it lost the turnover margin – going back to a few wins early in 2019 – and it won its last 18 games going back to a loss to Indiana in early 2017 when it was on the right side of the stat.
Obviously the D has to do its part in that, and the O cleaned things up after giving it away 13 times in the first four games, but good things happen to Virginia when it’s relatively mistake-free.
Virginia Cavaliers Biggest Key: Defense
The pass defense has to be a whole lot better. It started at the end of 2019 and it carried over to 2020.
As good as the 2019 defense and team were, it struggled stopping anyone from throwing consistently well as the season went on.
The ’19 Cavaliers allowed more than 300 passing yards and big play after big play in five of the last six games, and Georgia Tech averaged 10.4 yards per throw in the one outlier.
Last year? Virginia was dead last in the ACC in pass defense allowing 304 yards per game and a whopping 9.4 yards per throw.
On the plus side, Virginia won when Boston College threw for 520 yards and beat North Carolina despite giving up 443 yards and four scores. But … the pass D has to be better.
Virginia Cavaliers Key Player To A Successful Season
RB Wayne Taulapapa, Sr.
He’s been a tough part of the running game for the last two seasons, running for 868 yards and 17 touchdowns to go go along with 17 catches.
But it’s a thin backfield with a few promising options, but no developed, experienced talent. That will quickly change – the running back situation is hardly bad – and QB Brennan Armstrong is a terrific runner, but the more Taulapapa can do to carry the load, the better everything else will work.
Virginia Cavaliers Key Game To The 2021 Season
Virginia Tech, Nov. 27
It’s always a bit obvious when the rivalry game is the key to the season, but it might just be the case for a Cavalier team that has to get past last year’s clunker.
Yeah, the win in 2019 was nice, but with last year’s 33-15 loss the Cavaliers have now lost 16 of the last 17 in the series going back to 2003.
There should be enough winnable games on the slate to keep this from being a must-win to go bowling, but yet another loss in the rivalry would be a problem no matter what.
2020 Virginia Cavaliers Fun Stats
– Yards Per Pass: Opponents 9.4 – Virginia 6.9
– Penalties: Opponents 79 for 667 yards – Virginia 53 for 483 yards
– Sacks: Virginia 32 for 221 yards – Opponents 20 for 127 yards