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Film room: Virginia's potent offense will test Duke in road matchup

Duke football's defense will work to limit Virginia's numerous weapons.
Duke football's defense will work to limit Virginia's numerous weapons.

Duke football faces its second-straight conference road test, this week taking on Virginia. While the Cavaliers are just 2-8, they bring a number of weapons into the matchup, and the Blue Zone is here to break down some film: 

After falling in a double-overtime thriller to rival North Carolina, Duke will look to right the ship on the road, as the Blue Devils will travel to Charlottesville, Va., to take on the Cavaliers. While it does not sport a great record, Virginia has been very competitive as of late, knocking off the Tar Heels and taking Louisville down to the wire, presenting a potential trap game for head coach Mike Elko’s squad. 

Despite being 2-8, The Cavaliers have been in multiple close games throughout the season, and are certainly a threat to beat any team in the ACC. 

With starting quarterback Tony Muskett out due to injury, freshman Anthony Colandrea stepped up under center last week. The St. Petersburg, Fla., native performed admirably, throwing for 314 yards and a touchdown while also adding 89 yards on the ground. Take a look as he uncorks one down the sideline against the Cardinals: (5:34)

The running back position is held by committee in Elliott’s offense, as Virginia has three running backs who have amassed at least 225 yards. The backfield is usually led by sixth-year Perris Jones, who averages 5.2 yards per carry and has 393 rushing yards on the season. However, the goal line duties typically go to graduate student Mike Hollins, who has seven touchdowns on the year, including three in the win against the Tar Heels. Watch one of those scores here: (1:52)

Out wide, wideout Malik Washington is clearly the best weapon at Colandrea’s disposal, and likely the best player on the Cavaliers’ roster. After a solid career at Northwestern, the graduate transfer has taken his game to a different level, dominating in his first season in the ACC. The Lawrenceville, Ga., native has elevated the offense in Charlottesville all season, already racking up 1,199 yards and seven touchdowns — including a monster game against N.C. State where he hauled in 10 catches for 170 yards and two scores to earn ACC Offensive Receiver of the Week honors. Check out one of his scores against the Wolfpack: (8:48)

On the other side of the football, linebacker Kamren Robinson has been one of the most impactful players for Virginia all season long. The freshman earned himself playing time as early as the season opener, and has been a staple of the defense ever since. The Tappahannock, Va., product is stout in the run game, as evidenced by his 11-tackle performance against N.C. State, but he is also a major factor in pass coverage. Robinson leads the team in interceptions with two. Check out his pick-six against Louisville: (7:43)

Come Saturday, Duke will have an opportunity to flex its muscle against an inferior opponent, but the Cavaliers should certainly not be overlooked. If the Blue Devils can slow down Colandrea and Washington, they should leave the state of Virginia with one more victory under their belt.


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