Miami Hurricanes need to win turnover battle versus Virginia

Winning the turnover battle will be critical for the Miami Hurricanes against Virginia who is 67th nationally in turnover margin.

The Miami Hurricanes enter their game on Saturday against Virginia needing to win the turnover margin. Miami was plus-four in turnovers in their wins against Louisville and Florida State and minus four in its three other games this season. Virginia was plus-four in its season-opening win over Duke and minus four in its three losses.

The Miami offense did not have any turnovers in their season-opening victories over UAB and Louisville. Miami wide receiver Mark Pope lost fumbles on punt returns against UAB and in the 52-10 Hurricanes victory in the third game of the season against Florida State. Running back Jaylan Knighton lost a fumble against Louisville.

The plus four for Virginia its season-opening win over Duke came with three turnovers by the Cavaliers offense and an absurd seven by Duke. Virginia threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. Duke threw five interceptions and lost two fumbles. The Cavaliers QBs have thrown multiple interceptions in every game in 2020.

Virginia has added a lost fumble in losses the last two weeks to Clemson and North Carolina State. Virginia is expected to be without starting QB Brennan Armstrong on Saturday. Armstrong has thrown five TD passes and six interceptions this season. Backup Lindell Stone has thrown three TD passes and three interceptions.

D’Eriq King has a respectable 10 to four TD to interception ratio. Backup N’Kosi Perry has thrown one TD and one interception in limited playing time. The two fumbles by Pope and one by Knighton round out the eight Miami Hurricanes turnovers. The Hurricanes have recovered four opponent fumbles and intercepted four passes.

Miami safety Bubba Bolden is responsible for five opponent turnovers this season. Bolden has forced three fumbles, has an interception and one of his two pass breakups resulted in an interception by Miami cornerback Al Blades off the deflection. The Virginia offense will have to account for where Bolden is.

If Armstrong is out, Stone, Keytaon Thompson and Ira Armstead are all likely to see time at QB. Stone is the best passer of the three, Thompson the best runner and Armstead the best dual-threat. The fumbles lost by VIrginis were by RBs Parris Jones Tavares Kelly and Shane Simpson. Virginia and Miami are tied for 38 in fumbles lost.

If the Miami secondary can continue the Virginia streak of multiple interceptions per game this season and add a fumble recovery the Hurricanes should defeat the Cavaliers comfortably. Turnovers have plagued Virginia this season and often turned close games into comfortable victories for the Cavaliers opponents.