Another week, another season opener, another mystery.
Duke is headed into the unknown again with its road game at Virginia on Saturday, which hasn’t played a game since Dec. 30 when it lost 36-28 to Florida in the Orange Bowl. This is the third team that is opening its season against the Blue Devils, creating another uphill battle. While coach David Cutcliffe said the Blue Devils do know a lot about Virginia, they don’t know the “2020 version.”
“Any changes that they’ve made, we don’t know exactly what they’re going to be. It’s been challenging,” Cutcliffe said. “Our players are a little irritable about it to be real honest with you. It’s a unique setting. It’s what we’ve been given. We have to deal with it and just move forward.”
One of the biggest changes for the Cavaliers is a new quarterback — sophomore Brennan Armstrong. The Shelby, Ohio native has appeared in 11 games in the past two seasons, seven during the 2019 campaign. Last year, Armstrong had a 75 percent passing completion rate for 196 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
It’s safe to assume the UVA offense will look different compared to how it was under former-quarterback Bryce Perkins, who is now on the Los Angeles Rams practice squad, and this will create problems for the Blue Devils who lost both of their starting cornerbacks this week to injuries.
HOW TO WATCH DUKE VS VIRGINIA
The game is a 4 p.m. kickoff and is televised on the ACC Network.
As of Friday afternoon, Virginia is a 5 point favorite, according to espn.com. The over/under is 46.
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With starting cornerbacks Josh Blackwell and Mark Gilbert out indefinitely with injuries, Leonard Johnson and Jeremiah Lewis are expected to start. Johnson, a junior, started every game for Duke last season. Lewis, a sophomore, played in all 12 games last year.
* Duke is 0-2 while UVA had to cancel or postpone its first three games against Georgia, VMI and Virginia Tech.
* Duke returns two high-end pass rushers, Chris Rumph II and Victor Dimukeje. Rumph tallied eight total tackles and one sack in Saturday’s 26-6 loss to Boston College while Dumikeje had six total tackles and 3.5 sacks, tied for the second most in school history in a game.
* Duke turned the ball over five times against Boston College last week, four of which were in the red zone.