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Abilene Christian at Virginia: 3 keys for the Cavaliers

Abilene Christian at Virginia: 3 keys for the Cavaliers


Virginia junior running back Wayne Taulapapa (21) runs the ball as Wake Forest senior defensive back Traveon Redd (17) attempts to tackle on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020 at Truist Field in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Winston-Salem Journal/Andrew Dye) 101820-wsj-spt-wakefootball


1 Start quickly: It’s always a key when a massive underdog visits your stadium. The recipe for an upset is to let a team hang around and gain confidence. UVA has been outscored 68-30 in the first quarter of games this season, so slow starts have been an issue. Crowd energy figures to be even lower this Saturday, with attendance down from 1,000 to 250, so the Cavaliers will need to bring their own energy for this one, especially early.

2 Run the ball … with running backs: The Wildcats already have allowed more than 400 rushing yards in a game twice this season, to Army and last weekend against Angelo State. Virginia has its full contingent of running backs available in Wayne Taulapapa, Shane Simpson and now Ronnie Walker. Even with the season-ending injury to left guard Dillon Reinkensmeyer, this should be a game where the Cavaliers can control the game and the clock and keep hits off quarterback Brennan Armstrong by running the ball.

3Tackle well: How seriously a defense takes an opponent often reveals itself in tackling. When the Wildcats get on the edge, shoddy tackling could turn mundane plays into big ones and make things more interesting than Virginia wants. This isn’t a game Virginia wants to let short throws or inside handoffs turn into big plays.

Twitter: @RTD_MikeBarber

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