Just a week ago there wasn't much pep in the Duke Football program's step.
That changed after last Saturday's win at Navy in what was the Blue Devils' first victory over an FBS school this year and only the second of the season.
Virginia on the other hand was expected to undergo a lot of rebuilding with new coach Mike London taking over for deposed coach Al Groh was sent packing last season.
Yet the Cavaliers have managed to keep their heads above water and the record right at .500 at 4-4 (1-3 ACC). Duke hasn't been as successful in coach David Cutcliffe's third season at the helm falling off the pace he had set in his previous two seasons.
At 2-6 (0-4 ACC) the Blue Devils will be attempting to beat the Cavaliers for the third straight season.
Duke has been plagued by turnovers mainly from quarterback Sean Renfree. After a quick start against FCS Elon, Renfree has been unable to avoid the interception bug, although several of his interceptions were tips or drops from his own receivers.
But against Navy last week Renfree broke out of his season long funk and managed to post mind boggling numbers throwing for more than 300 yards, on 28-30 passing.
If he can post those type of numbers against the Caves and get some help from the running attack fuled by Desmond Scott and Jay Hollingsworth, then the Blue Devils can pull off the win.
Virginia is coming off its second straight win and a dominating performance against Miami in which the Cavalier defense knocked Hurricanes quarterback Jacory Harris out of the game.
London has had a lot of success against the Duke program, having beaten them as coach of FCS Richmond last season and in 2006. Now the coach of the Cavaliers, London has the program eyeing a return to respectability and prominence in the ACC.
Duke's offensive line is beat up and if Virginia's defense can put the pressure on Renfree, then the Cavaliers will likely break the streak of losses to Duke and win its third game of the season.
Keys for Duke
Duke's offensive line must protect Renfree and open some holes for the running backs. Virginia's offense is not anything that the Blue Devil defense should be overwhelmed by, but they will take advantage of mistakes if given.
If Duke can put up points, the defense which has been playing much better should be able to hold off the Cavaliers.
Keys for Virginia
Virginia must avoid coming into the game too high following its win over Miami. They know they can compete and beat Duke but overconfident is not where this team should be.
If the Cavalier defense can force a few turnovers and keep Duke out of the end zone, then a close, low scoring game favors Virginia.
Duke 38, Virginia 24
The home field advantage gives Duke the edge in this one, but make no mistake that Virginia can win this game as easily as the Blue Devils. If Duke turns the ball over, Virginia wins.
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