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Key Matchups: Virginia

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Louisville has a handful of advantages that could help them win the game.

NCAA Football: Boston College at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

ANDREW BROWN AND CHRIS PEACE VS. UOFL’S EDGE GAME

Louisville’s offense is at its best when it can get to the edge of the defense with traditional runs and read option plays for Lamar Jackson. Jackson’s scrambling ability is also forces teams to keep contain and make it a part of their actual game plan. You can’t really just run at him without a plan for what to do when he pulls it down to run.

This is where Louisville has a big advantage in my opinion. Brown is a good athlete for a big guy but he’s not a Bradley Chubb or Austin Bryant type of athlete that can chase down Lamar before he gets to full speed. Chris Peace has made a lot of plays behind the line but he’s also not a guy that can hang with Lamar in a one-on-one situation. Not many can, but there are some guys out there that have shown the ability to at least put Lamar into panic mode where he has to improvise. I don’t see these guys being able to do that.

OLAMIDE ZACCHEAUS VS. LOUISVILLE’S TACKLING AND EFFORT

Louisville is coming off of a game where they allowed Greg Dortch to absolutely go off. Most of his yardage came after he injured himself badly enough that he’s now out for the season. Louisville literally allowed a guy who was seriously injured score 2 touchdowns on them and it was mostly due to the fact that he was giving more effort than they were.

Somehow the UofL defense has to turn up the energy level on defense and get more guys to the football. It isn’t even a completely new issue. The effort level wasn’t always there under Todd Grantham either. But it at least got fixed over time. You didn’t see it ever week like we seem to see now. Olamide Zaccheaus is the type of player that will expose that lack of effort and turn the short throws that UVA use as an extension of their running game into huge plays.

LOUISVILLE’S RUN DEFENSE VS. JORDAN ELLIS

The Hoos doesn't run the ball very well and they use their passing game to make up for some of that but Jordan Ellis is a solid running back. He’s nowhere near the level of talent that Cam Akers or A.J. Dillon are but neither is Matt Colburn and we all saw what he did two weeks ago. Louisville started off the year being very strong against the run, but that was against very pass happy teams. Virginia is not a good team when it comes to running the football and UofL has to take advantage of that like they did early in the year. While I do think that Virginia does well on offense even though they don’t run it well, every team has issues if they’re one dimensional.

Ellis is a power back and that’s what concerns me the most. He will run though arm tackles and wear down a defense over time. That kind of goes back to the previous point above about Louisville’s tackling and effort. After a while it gets a little old tackling a 215 dude who loves contact. Louisville has to keep Ellis from getting anything going outside the tackles. He’s not fast enough to outrun guys to the edge but if he finds that success I think that UVA will be able to find balance on offense. That obviously puts Louisville at a disadvantage. Keeping Ellis to between the tackle runs that go for 2-4 yards is how Louisville could force the Hoos to pass the ball more and at least then they would be able to focus on stopping one thing and not everything.