Virginia vs. Ohio — A breakdown

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Sophomore safety Joey Blount enters the game against Ohio after having a pretty strong start to the season so far.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

After falling to Indiana on the road last week, Virginia returns to action against Ohio. While the game was originally scheduled to take place at Scott Stadium, the Virginia athletics department announced that due to Hurricane Florence, the game will now take place at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. The CD staff takes a look at some players and keys to the game that could help the Cavaliers rebound from their loss.

Players to watch

Virginia safety Joey Blount 

Sophomore safety Joey Blount enters the game against Ohio after having a pretty strong start to the season so far. In the season-opener against Richmond, Blount recorded the first interception of his career, and in the game against Indiana, Blount recorded a career-high 13 tackles. However, while playing the Hoosiers last weekend, Blount also got called three times for pass interference. If Blount can tighten up his game and minimize his penalties, he has the ability to help Virginia put up a really strong defense that can keep Ohio off the scoreboard. 

Virginia running back Jordan Ellis

Senior running back Jordan Ellis came up big against Richmond in the season opener, with a career-high 141 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The balanced rushing attack that the Cavaliers led against the Spiders, with Ellis and junior quarterback Bryce Perkins contributing, ignited the Virginia offense. But Virginia, in the desperation of falling behind double-digits at half, largely abandoned this balanced attack in the rain at Indiana. While Perkins rushed for over 100 yards, Ellis only amounted 63 yards on the ground, despite a strong 5.3 yards per carry. Ellis needs to get more touches for Virginia to beat Ohio, as he is an explosive and consistent player that can pace the Cavaliers’ offense Saturday.

Keys to the game: 

Get a rhythm going on offense 

Last weekend, the Cavaliers struggled offensively — as a team, they only gained 294 yards, compared to the 492 yards they had against Richmond. Furthermore, running back Jordan Ellis had 63 yards on 12 carries against the Hoosiers, which was a big drop-off from the career-high 146 yards he had in the season opener. The offense just didn’t seem to click against the Hoosiers — who had a young, inexperienced defense — and keeping Indiana off of the scoreboard for the entire second half still wasn’t enough for the Cavaliers to pull off the comeback win. Virginia will have to get things going early and find a comfortable rhythm offensively that will allow them to utilize their running game. 

Stop the run up the gut

The Cavaliers’ defensive line Saturday night was overpowered by Indiana’s offensive line — allowing the Hoosiers’ true freshman running back Stevie Scott to run for 204 yards and a touchdown. Scott paced Indiana in the rain, allowing the Hoosiers to stay conservative in the second half and maintain their 20-9 first half advantage. While Indiana failed to score in the second half, Scott’s runs up the gut allowed the Hoosiers to control possession, making it difficult for Virginia at the end of the game. The defensive line will have to step up against Ohio to limit the Bobcats’ potent rushing attack. One of Ohio’s strengths is its offensive line, and the Cavaliers must neutralize it in order to win this weekend at home.

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