2015 ACC Football Preview: Virginia

2014 record: 5-7 (3-5 ACC)

Returning Starters: Offense 5 Defense 5

Key Players: QB Matt Johns, RB Taquan Mizzell, FS Quin Blanding

Mike London knows if he doesn’t win this season he won’t have a job in Charlottesville anymore, and as usual, the success of the campaign will likely hinge on quarterback play. Enter Matt Johns who is the unquestioned starter simply because there’s no real backup. Johns threw for 1,109 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions last season after replacing Greyson Lambert who later transferred to Georgia. That means that for once, there’s no quarterback controversy for the Cavs which should help the offense find some degree of consistency. The ‘Hoos always have talented offensive lines, but have been unable to utilize that talent effectively. “Smoke” Mizzell finished second on the team in receptions (39) but needs to be a more effective runner to ease the pressure on the passing game.

Quin Blanding leads the defense and is one of the top defensive backs in the ACC as only a Sophomore. He finished second in the ACC and twelfth nationally in total tackles with 123, which is tremendous productivity, though it’s traditionally a bad sign when your free safety makes that many stops. Blanding looks to lead a young, but improving defense to a bowl game by flipping the Wahoos’ 2014 record around or at least scratching out a .500 record.

That will be a tall order however with an absolutely brutal September schedule that features three games against ranked opponents — Notre Dame, UCLA and Boise State. Last season, UVA was able to pull an upset over then No. 21 Louisville and also nearly upset ranked BYU on the road. A one-point loss to North Carolina and a four-point loss to rival Virginia Tech sealed the losing season down the stretch, but the Cavs weren’t that far from making a bowl game.

Reversing just one or two of those results is certainly possible, and it’s imperative if Mike London wishes to continue his current employment.

For more on the 2015 Virginia Cavaliers, check out Mike McDaniel and Mark Rogers below as they provide a full preview video in which they discuss the prospects of the offense and defense, as well as the Cavalier schedule.


You can follow me on Twitter @BestCates, Mike is on Twitter @MikeMcDanielACC, and Mark is on Twitter @MarkRogersTV. Also, give the site a follow @insidetheacc, and check us out on Facebook here. Mark Rogers YouTube Channel can be found here, as he examines college football teams around the country with featured videos.

Leave a Reply