Heartbeats should be back to a normal rhythm by the time Virginia and host Louisville kick off their Atlantic Coast Conference contest on Saturday afternoon in Kentucky.
Both teams are coming off nail-biting finishes, which Virginia looks to build upon and Louisville hopes to learn from.
The Cavaliers (3-2, 1-2 ACC) collected their first road win of the season last Thursday night at Miami, hanging on for a 30-28 victory when the Hurricanes’ 33-yard field-goal attempt hit the left upright as time expired.
The Cardinals (3-2, 1-1) had their three-game winning streak halted Saturday at then-No. 24 Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons, now ranked 19th, used a 29-yard field goal with 22 seconds left to escape, 37-34.
Louisville holds a 5-4 lead in the all-time series, including a 4-0 record at home. Virginia won the most recent clash, 31-17, in Charlottesville, Va., on Nov. 14, 2020.
The Cavaliers are trying to win back-to-back ACC road games for the first time since 2011. One key on Saturday will be containing Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham.
Cunningham has passed for 1,307 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for 309 yards and an ACC-leading 10 touchdowns this season. In last season’s loss at Virginia, he passed for 161 yards and rushed for 197 yards and two scores.
“On a scale of whatever dangerousness there are, I would put him at the top of the dangerous scale in terms of how fast, how athletic,” UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall said Monday. “He can pull it down and run on any given play. I’m just really impressed with him. I think he’s a really good athlete. I think his throwing accuracy and precision has improved. On any given play, he’s a threat.”
Louisville coach Scott Satterfield has similar respect for Cavaliers QB Brennan Armstrong, who leads the ACC with 1,973 passing yards and ranks second with 14 touchdown passes. Armstrong accounted for 263 yards of offense and three scores (two rushing) in last year’s win over the Cardinals.
“Their quarterback is playing at a high level,” Satterfield said Monday. “He can throw the football. Very accurate passer, throws a very catchable ball, and they have some guys to throw it to as well.”
Louisville is 2-0 at home this season and plays five of its remaining seven games at Cardinal Stadium.
–Field Level Media