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Virginia at Wake Forest: 3 keys for the Cavaliers

Virginia at Wake Forest: 3 keys for the Cavaliers


One week after running Duke’s defense ragged, Virginia must limit the Tigers’ possessions. Running back Wayne Taulapapa (left) ran for 95 yards and two scores against Duke, and a big workload could be on tap this week.


1Create havoc: That’s something Virginia’s defense prided itself on last season — big, disruptive plays like sacks and interceptions. It’s been lacking this year. Coach Bronco Mendenhall even called out star outside linebacker Charles Snowden for a lack of dynamic plays this season. Wake Forest could present an opportunity for Snowden and the defense to answer that criticism. If UVA’s offense is without quarterback Brennan Armstrong, it’ll need help from the defense.

2 Run the football: With or without Armstrong, the Cavaliers need to get their running back-based ground game in gear. Wake Forest gives up the fourth most rushing yards in the league so far this season, at 191.7 per game. With Wayne Taulapapa, Shane Simpson and the freshly-cleared Ronnie Walker — the former Hopewell star who was granted an NCAA waiver this week — the Cavaliers should be able to rush the ball in this one.

3 Make some big plays: In the loss to N.C. State, Mendenhall said it felt like the team was waiting around for a big play to turn the game around. Saturday at Wake Forest, UVA needs to be a whole lot more proactive. Whether it’s a deep ball to Lavel Davis Jr., a short throw that turns into a big gain for Billy Kemp, or a field-flipping turnover, Virginia needs to make a few big plays to grab control of this game, not wait around for them to happen.

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