DURHAM — Since Peter Lalich was kicked off the team earlier this month for violating terms of his probation, it leaves redshirt sophomore Marc Verica to take the Cavaliers (1-2) on the road for their first ACC game, this one at Duke on Saturday at noon.
Duke (2-1) has lost 25 straight ACC games but Virginia is a 7-point underdog. Despite the tawdry facts, both teams have much to prove before the jury comes back with a verdict.
Because of the QB change, the Devils have a chance to make ha on defense.
Duke cornerback Adrian Aye-Darko knows the Duke secondary hasn't been tested, by run-heavy teams Duke has faced, like it will be in the ACC. Here Aye-Darko explains what Verica (No. 6) brings vs. Lalich (No. 7). The irony? Lalich had his first solid game last season against Duke in Charlottesville as a freshman.
Lalich had completed 39 of 74 passes for 384 yards with no TDs and three interceptions in two games before his dismissal. Verica started in UVA's 45-10 loss to UConn and did solid work completing 22 of 30 passes for 158 yards and an interception.
Still, in a 52-7 loss to No. 1 USC, a 16-0 win over Richmond and a 45-10 loss to UConn, Virginia hasn't generated a lot of offense. Even Duke nuisance/UVA tailback Cedric Peerman has yet to find his stride in the running game.
Virginia also boasts one of the biggest offensive lines in the ACC. Duke coach David Cutcliffe has said the Cavaliers usually come NFL-sized at those positions. It'll be a challenge for the Duke defensive line and linebackers to shed blockers to get to the ballcarrier. Here Duke linebacker Michael Tauiliili talks about how the Devils are preparing.