#2 Oregon Ducks (1-0) at Virginia Cavaliers (1-0), 12:30 p.m. Pacific, Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Virginia
TV: live nationally on ABC/ESPN2. On ABC in the West, South, and Eastern seaboard. On ESPN2 in the Northeast and Midwest. Link to coverage map.
Hey! It’s great…to beat an Awwwburrrn Ti-ger: Virginia wide receiver Darius Jennings defeats the coverage in the 2011 Chick-fil-A bowl. Jennings won this confrontation but the Hoos fell 45-24 on New Year’s Eve in the Georgia Dome (JASON GETZ, ajc.com photo).
1st meeting ever between these two schools. Last week, Oregon crushed FCS doormat Nicholls 66-3, while the Wahoos gutted out a 19-16 victory over BYU with an interception return down to the 13 in the closing minutes. They limited the Cougars no-huddle spread offense to just 362 yards in the win.
Virginia offense: pro style, multiple formation. Ran the ball 42 times in the home opener, but for just 109 yards.
5 David Watford QB 6-2, 200 sophomore from Hampton HS in Hampton, Va.
First year starter. Redshirted last year. Completed 18-32 passes for 114 yards, 1 td and 1 interception last week. 30-74, 346 passing yards in 2011, 3 tds, 4 ints as a true freshman. 3-star dual threat quarterback in high school who had over 3,000 yards total offense his senior year, 795 yards rushing and 1,478 passing as a junior.
Watford is mobile and athletic, just getting his feet under him as a starter. Got a big confidence boost rolling right, evading a tackler to hit Darius Jennings for an 11-yard touchdown in last Saturday’s win. He completed four straight passes in the two-minute drill just before halftime to set up a field goal.
25 Kevin Parks RB 5-8, 205 junior from West Rowan HS, in Salisbury, North Carolina
Leading rusher last season with 734 yards and 5 tds. Bounced off three tacklers to score the winning touchdown against BYU on a 13-yard run. Rambled for career-high 129 yards on 17 carries last year against Maryland. 20 carries for 65 yards and the td last week.
Parade All-American and Old Spice Red Zone National Player of the Year in high school. A 3-star recruit who set the North Carolina prep rushing record with 10,895 career rushing yards, reaching the end zone an astounding 158 times for West Rowan.
A darting, durable, hard-working back who can hide behind the offensive line. Longest run of his career is 49 yards. Had 25 pass receptions as a sophomore for 189 yards, 7.9 yards per catch.
6 Darius Jennings WR, 5-11, 175 junior from The Gilman School, Baltimore, Maryland
Watford’s favorite target in the BYU game, 7 catches for 62 yards and the td. Grabbed a 20-yard pass to ignite the field goal drive before half time.
Leading receiver last season with 48 catches for 568 yards and 5 tds. Career long 53-yd td reception versus Miami.
Super Prep All-American in high school, a dual-threat quarterback with 4,338 career rushing yards and 53 tds. A good route runner with good feet. Excels at getting his feet down in bounds on sideline routes. His 69 receptions over his first two years are an all-time high at Viriginia for an underclassman. His 20-yard catch was the Wahoos longest play in the game versus the Cougars.
49 Zachary Swanson TE, junior 6-6, 255 from Katy, Texas
3 catches for 21 yards versus the Cougs. 8 receptions last year for 88 yards and 1 td. An excellent blocker who started 3 games as a sophomore. 36-yard catch against Maryland last year.
High school team won back-to-back Texas state 5A titles his sophomore and junior seasons. 3-star prospect and the #22 rated tight end in the country according to espn.com. Won the Rocky Weir Most Improved Offensive Player Award in spring practice. Played mostly blocking fullback his first two seasons as a Cavalier.
If the Hoos are going to compete for the upset against the heavily-favored Ducks, they’ll need an unlikely hero. The uncelebrated veteran tight end needs to have a big game, especially since Oregon’s linebackers displayed some softness in pass coverage in the opener, giving up chunks of yards on underneath routes in the second, third and fourth quarters.
4 Taquan “Smoke” Mizzell RB 5-10, 185 freshman from Bayside High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia
Mizzell didn’t get untracked in the BYU game, carrying 7 times for just 16 yards, but he is the Cavs’ most dangerous talent, their Thomas Tyner story. As a prep he was a 5-star recruit and the 29-rated player in the nation according to rivals.com, like Tyner a U.S. Army All-American. Mizzell had a 72-yad kickoff return in the Army A-A that set up the winning touchdown for the East in a 15-8 slugfest. Had 1,231 yards and 39 total tds as a senior.
Wahoo running backs coach Larry Lewis echoed the Tyner mini-controversy in talking about his freshman phenom during training camp. Speaking to Washington Post reporter Mark Giannotto he said, “Number one, can he handle all the formations and everything we have going in?” Mentally, can he handle it? Physically, can he handle it? And can you do that and still go to school? I think you have to look at all those things as [with] any true freshman and evaluate what their worth is going to be because you get into school, then all of a sudden, you got a lot of things pulling from guys.”
Mizell claims a hand-timed 40-yard dash time of 4.3, 4.5 electronic. He’s the game-breaking potential X factor for UVa., but it may be too soon for him against Oregon.