Weekend Previews: November 1-3
What: Virginia (2-6, 0-4 ACC) vs. No. 8 Clemson (7-1, 5-1 ACC)
Where: Scott Stadium
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
The Skinny: All of Clemson’s offense runs through one man — senior quarterback Tajh Boyd. The Hampton, Va. product entered the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate and has not disappointed, throwing for 2243 yards and 17 touchdowns so far this season. He has added 219 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. His favorite target has been two-time All-American junior Sammy Watkins, who has 58 receptions for 813 yards and five touchdowns. On the ground, redshirt senior Roderick McDowell has led the way with 607 yards and two touchdowns. It all adds up to form the 18th-best total offense in the nation.
Clemson has performed well on defense also, ranking 38th in the nation at 374.8 yards allowed per game. The Tigers lead the nation in sacks with 29, and many of those can be attributed to defensive end Vic Beasley, who is tied for the national lead with 10. In the secondary, senior cornerback Darius Robinson and junior defensive back Bashaud Breeland each have three interceptions on the season. Outside of a shocking 51-14 loss to No. 3 Florida State two weeks ago, Clemson has held opponents to just 17.7 points per game.
—compiled by Michael Eilbacher
What: No. 15 Virginia (8-3-4, 3-2-4 ACC) vs. North Carolina (6-3-5, 3-1-5 ACC)
Where: Klöckner Stadium
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
The Skinny: The game between Virginia and North Carolina — the 81st matchup between the rival programs since 1946 — will go a long way in determining where the two teams finish in the loaded ACC. Virginia, unbeaten in its last 11 contests, comes into the game in sixth-place in the conference with 13 points,while North Carolina sits one spot higher with 14 points. The Cavaliers set the goal of a top-four ACC finish at the beginning of the year, and a win or tie against North Carolina is essential to pass fourth-place and No. 19 Clemson (17 points) in their final two games.
The contest pits high-octane attacking against stout defending. The Cavaliers have tallied 32 goals in 15 games this year and rank as the second-highest scoring team in the ACC, while the stingy Tar Heel defense has allowed nine goals in 14 games and shut out half of its opponents on the year. Virginia broke through against a tough Notre Dame back-line last Saturday in upsetting the country’s No. 2 team 2-0 and is brimming with confidence. North Carolina, conversely, is aiming to right the ship after starting the year No. 4 in the nation and falling from the NSCAA Coaches Poll rankings this week.
A repeat of recent performances from sophomore forward Darius Madison and freshman forward Riggs Lennon would certainly boost the Cavaliers. Madison, the reigning ACC Player of the Week, accounted for both of Virginia’s scores against the Fighting Irish in the first multi-goal game of his career. Lennon headed home the game-winner six minutes into overtime Tuesday night against UNC Greensboro.
—compiled by Matthew Morris
What: ACC Cross Country Championships
Where: Hosted by Wake Forest in Kernersville, N.C.
When: Friday – Men’s race at 10 a.m.; Women’s race at 11 a.m.
The Skinny: The men’s and women’s cross country teams begin their postseason Friday when they race in the ACC Championships in Kernersville, N.C. The Virginia women are currently ranked 10th in the nation, and will look to continue their recent success, while the Virginia men will have to upset some teams to finish highly.
The Cavaliers face stiff competition on the women’s side, including No. 5 Florida State, No. 19 Syracuse, No. 22 Notre Dame and No. 27 Boston College. The Virginia women are led by senior Barbara Strehler, but have also enjoyed strong seasons from several freshmen, including Maria Hauger, Sarah Fakler and Sara Sargent. At Pre-Nationals Oct. 19, the Cavaliers’ second, third, fourth and fifth runners finished within 17 seconds of each other to form a tight pack behind Strehler.
The ACC is also deep on the men’s side, with No. 14 Syracuse, No. 18 North Carolina and No. 23 Notre Dame all competing. Headlined by redshirt freshman Adam Visokay and sophomore Kyle King, Virginia currently sits just outside the national top-30 rankings.
The men’s team captured a third place finish at the Panorama Farms Invitational, edging out Duke by three points, but were well back of meet champion North Carolina. The Virginia men placed eighth just a week later at the Notre Dame Invitational, which featured a strong field of nationally ranked teams.
—compiled by Andrew O’Shea
What: Virginia (12-10, 5-5 ACC) at Georgia Tech (8-14, 2-8 ACC), at Clemson (11-10, 5-5 ACC)
Where: Atlanta, Ga; Clemson, S.C.
When: Friday, 6 p.m. (Georgia Tech); Saturday, 6 p.m. (Clemson)
The Skinny: The Virginia volleyball team has a chance to move above .500 in conference play in road tilts against Georgia Tech and Clemson this weekend.
With a come-from-behind win against Notre Dame on Sunday, the Cavaliers extended their ACC win streak to two for the first time since 2011. With 374 digs this season, senior libero Emily Rottman is tied for third on Virginia’s career dig list.
Georgia Tech broke a six game losing streak with a 3-2 victory against Boston College last Sunday, and the team’s only other conference win was an upset against then-No. 18 Florida State Oct. 4. Although the Yellow Jackets have struggled with ACC play, they have won four of the last five matches against Virginia.
Clemson sits right behind Virginia in the ACC standings at eighth. The Tigers look to bounce back from a 3-1 defeat to Syracuse last Sunday. Before welcoming the Cavaliers, Clemson hosts Virginia Tech Friday.
—compiled by Kristen Cauley