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Miami Hurricanes vs. Virginia Cavaliers Prediction and Preview

Miami Hurricanes LB Shaquille Quarterman

Miami Hurricanes LB Shaquille Quarterman

After defeating archrival Florida State 28-27 last weekend, the Miami Hurricanes will head on the road this week Charlottesville to take on the Virginia Cavaliers in an important ACC Coastal Division matchup.

Miami will look to improve to 6-1 (and 3-0 in ACC) heading into its bye week before playing the Boston College Eagles on the road on Oct. 26.

In their last game two weeks ago, the Cavaliers (3-2, 1-1) lost to NC State in Raleigh, 35-21.

Saturday will mark the 16th meeting between the Hurricanes and the Cavaliers. Miami leads the all-time series 9-6, which includes a 44-28 victory last season in which the Hurricanes scored 30 unanswered points.

Miami at Virginia

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. ET
Spread: Miami -6.5

Three Things to Watch

1. Miami's offense vs. Virginia's defense

The Hurricanes will enter Saturday's game with the country's 20th-ranked scoring offense at 41.5 points per game. Actually, since their opening-week loss to LSU, the Hurricanes' offense has averaged 46.4 points in five games. The Canes will try to keep their offensive momentum going against what is a stout Cavaliers defense.

Virginia's defense is giving up just slightly over 20 points per game. However, the unit allowed NC State to score 35 points two weeks ago in a loss. The bye week might have come at the right time for the Cavaliers, as they needed to get healthy heading into Saturday's matchup.

2. Hurricanes' defense

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Miami's defense is one of the best in the nation. The Canes have registered 20 sacks in only six games, and they've also forced 14 turnovers during that same span. They currently rank No. 2 in the country in total defense.

Gerald Willis III will be someone the Cavaliers will have to keep a close eye on. He has been one of the most dominant defensive tackles in college football during the first half of the season, registering 28 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks.

3. Bryce Perkins
With the Hurricanes' dominant defensive line, Cavaliers quarterback Bryce Perkins will need to be ready for a lot of pressure, as Virginia's offensive line has given up 12 sacks this season.

In Virginia's first four games, Perkins got off to a hot start, throwing nine touchdowns and two interceptions during that span. But against NC State, Perkins threw two interceptions and completed just 57.1 percent of his passes.

Perkins' play against Miami will likely determine the outcome on Saturday.

Final Analysis

Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall is looking for that signature victory with the Cavaliers. He almost got it last season against a then-undefeated Hurricanes team. While Virginia could pull off the upset, it is going to be tough against the Miami defense.

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An early interception and a fourth-down turnover on downs cost Virginia 13 points in its matchup against NC State. The Cavaliers will definitely need to take care of the football and be able to run with Jordan Ellis and Bryce Perkins.

But in the end, the Hurricanes should be able to pull out the win on the road.

Prediction: Miami 27, Virginia 20

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.