A Closer Look: UVA's offense

The Hurricanes are preparing to take on the University of Virginia on Saturday so lets take a closer look at what the Cavs bring to the table on the offensive side of the football.

Rushing Offense: 104th
Passing Offense: 65th
Total Offense: 97th
Scoring Offense: 109th
Sacks Allowed: 18th
Passes Intercepted: 112th
Passing Efficiency: 98th
TFL's Allowed: 66th
Third-Down-Percentage: 70th
Time of Possession: 81st
Red Zone Offense: 82nd

It's been almost like two separate four-game seasons for the Cavs so far this season. In the first four games of the season, Virginia's offense averaged just 251 yards and nine points per game. Over the last four, all wins, the offense has averaged 382 yards and 27 points per game.

Quarterbacks: -- After Peter Lalich started the first couple games of the season and was benched, sophomore Marc Verica (6-3/205) took over the starting duties. He's completed 144-of-215 passes for 1,281 yards, five touchdowns, and nine interceptions on the season. The former two-star recruit coming out of high school ranks 76th, nationally, in pass efficiency right now. Verica is not a threat to run, as his season rushing total is minus-38 yards.

Running Backs: -- The Cavs split carries between their top two backs -- senior Cedric Peerman (5-10/208) and junior Mikell Simpson (6-1/200). Peerman has been the more productive of the two so far this season, having carried the ball 95 times for 561 yards and seven touchdowns. He now has over 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns for his career. The former three-star recruit has six career 100-yard games on the ground, with three of those coming in the last four games.

Simpson, a former four-star recruit, has carried the ball 83 times for 297 yards and three touchdowns this season. He has 893 yards and 12 scores for his career. Simpson, who has two career 100-yard games, took over for the injured Peerman late last season and did well. He ran 22 times for 93 yards and two scores and added 54 yards through the air in Virginia's win against Miami last year in the Orange Bowl.

Keep an eye on both backs coming out of the backfield as pass-catchers. They have combined for 110 career receptions, including 44 this year (Peerman 30, Simpson 14).

Wide Receivers: -- The group of receivers is led by junior Kevin Ogletree (6-2/190), who has 39 receptions for 474 yards and four scores this season. He has just over 1,000 yards for his career and the former three-star recruit has three career 100-yard games (including two this season). Ogletree caught five passes for 43 yards against Miami last season.

Senior Maurice Covington (6-5/225) is a big target for the Cavs, who is having a good season. He has 21 catches for 248 yards and one touchdown, as he now has 622 yards and three scores for his career. Covington, a former three-star recruit, is coming off his best game ever, catching five balls for 76 yards and a score against Georgia Tech last week.

Senior Cary Koch (6-0/185), redshirt freshman Jared Green (6-2/165), and redshirt freshman Kris Burd (5-8/165) are also in the mix at receiver. The three have combined for 30 catches for 307 yards and no touchdowns this season.

Tight Ends: As Coach Shannon mentioned in his weekly ACC teleconference, Virginia uses their tight ends extremely well. Senior John Phillips (6-6/250) already has 35 catches for 300 yards and one touchdown this season, pushing his career totals to 52 receptions for 493 yards. The former three-star recruit had the best game of his career against Miami last season, when he brought in 4 catches for 77 yards.

Redshirt freshman Andrew Devlin (6-6/260) was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and is considered an excellent blocker. He has three catches for 22 yards on the season.

Offensive Line: -- The Cavs are led up front by senior left tackle Eugene Monroe (6-6/315), who was rated as the No. 1 offensive line prospect in the nation when he came out of high school. He's projected to be a top 10-15 pick in April's NFL Draft. Defensive ends Adewale Ojomo and Andrew Smith on the right side of Miami's defensive line will have their hands full with Monroe.

Right tackle Will Barker (6-7/315) is the only other multiple-year starter on the offensive line for the Cavs. Sophomore center Jack Shields (6-5/290) is considered an excellent athlete, as he went to UVA as a tight end prospect.

This unit has been much better in pass protection than it has been in the running game. The team is averaging just 3.5 yards per carry (4.2 over the last four games) but they've given up just nine sacks in 299 pass attempts.


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