NCAA

Cavaliers Report: Playing the spoiler

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Cavaliers Report: Playing the spoiler

Check back every Wednesday for the Cavaliers Report to get all the biggest Virginia headlines for each week, a recap of last week's game and a look ahead at next week's contest.

Virginia 4-7, (3-4) in the ACC

In the news

ACC Linebacker of the Week: Inside linebacker Micah Kiser was named ACC Defensive Linebacker of the Week for his performance against Duke. Kiser had a career-high 17 tackles including two tackles for losses and one sack to help lead the Cavaliers to the victory.

With 107 tackles on the season, Kiser currently leads the ACC in tackles. Second in the conference is Virginia safety Quin Blanding with 105.

Mizzell breaks record: Running back Taquan Mizzell has proven to be just as big a weapon in the pass attack as he is in the rush and now has the record to prove it. Against Duke, Mizzell caught five passes for 43 yards, breaking a school record for receptions and receiving yards by a running back in a single season.

Mizzell is now No. 3 all-time in ACC history among running backs with 68 receptions on the season and No. 2 all-time in ACC history among running backs with 671 receiving yards.

RELATED: Locksley refutes notion that overuse led to Likely's injury

Last week's game: 42-34 win over Duke

Read the recap of this game here.

After two first quarter turnovers by Duke, Virginia was able to build an early 21-0 lead and held a 42-20 lead in the fourth quarterbefore the Blue Devils mounted a comeback. UVa was able to hold on, however, and earned the 42-34 win.

Quarterback Matt Johns passed for a career-high 344 yards and two touchdowns and Taquan Mizzell had three total touchdowns of his own to lead the Cavs. Offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild even opened the bag of tricks as Johns threw a backward pass to Olamide Zaccheaus who threw to Evan Butts for a 15-yard touchdown.

UVa was also aided by a targeting call to Duke safety Jeremy Cash. Cash was ejected for a big hit on Johns and Virginia struck two plays later with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Johns to Zacchaeus. As the defense's biggest play maker, Duke struggled to recover from the loss of Cash.

Despite the fourth quarter comeback, it was a dominant performance by Virginia, their best win of the season.

This week: Virginia vs. Virginia Tech, Sat. 12:00 p.m.

Preview

Virginia will look to claim its first Commonwealth Cup in 12 years as they face rival Virginia Tech. The Hokies stand just one win away from bowl eligibility in Frank Beamer's final season. While UVa has already been eliminated from bowl contention, the chance to snap an 11-game losing streak against their in-state rival and prevent them from reaching a bowl offers Virginia the chance to still end the season on a high note.

The Cavaliers appear to be hitting their stride with their big win over Duke. Mizzell is the team's biggest weapon and Johns is playing the best football of his career. Fairchild's normally conservative offense has found a good mix of running and short passes that can help open the offense up for big plays. The Hokies rank second in the ACC in pass defense but 11th in run defense. Virginia should continue to exploit their rush attack and short passing game. This could be a big game for Mizzell.

Virginia Tech has not been able to develop much of a rhythm on offense, but they do feature major weapons in receiver Isaiah Ford, tight end Bucky Hodges and running back Travon McMillian. Virginia has struggled on pass defense this season and their best bet will be to try and disrupt the offense by being aggressive with blitzing. Quarterback Michael Brewer has been effective at times in escaping pressure, but no one would mistake him for a mobile quarterback.

Mike London's job may also hang in the balance in this game. He has not beaten Virginia Tech in his previous five attempts. A win on Saturday would improve Virginia's record to 4-4 in the ACC and would be their best finish in conference play since going 5-3 in 2011. 

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Terps could be in major jam at QB vs. Rutgers because of injuries

Virginia stays at No. 1, Middle Tennessee enters Top 25 for first time ever

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USA TODAY Sports

Virginia stays at No. 1, Middle Tennessee enters Top 25 for first time ever

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Virginia strengthened its hold on No. 1 in the AP Top 25 while Duke jumped back into the top five after a pair of impressive wins.

The Cavaliers earned 42 of 65 first-place votes in the poll released Monday. That's 12 more than last week when they reached No. 1 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era.

The top four remained unchanged, with No. 2 Michigan State earning 19 first-place votes after rallying from 27 down to beat Northwestern. Third-ranked Villanova got the other four first-place votes after winning at No. 4 Xavier.

Fifth-ranked Duke jumped seven spots after beating Virginia Tech and Clemson despite playing without injured top freshman Marvin Bagley III.

Middle Tennessee checked in at 24th, marking its first AP Top 25 appearance in program history.

Complete AP Top 25 Poll for Week 16:

1. Virginia (42)
2. Michigan State (19)
3. Villanova (4)
4. Xavier
5. Duke
6. Texas Tech
7. Gonzaga
8. Kansas
9. Purdue
10. North Carolina
11. Cincinnati
12. Auburn
13. Wichita State
14. Arizona
15. Clemson
16. Ohio State
17. Michigan
18. Rhode Island
19. Tennessee
20. Nevada
21. West Virginia
22. Saint Mary's (CA)
23. Houston
24. Middle Tennessee
25. Florida State

NBC Sports Washington contributed to this report.

Georgetown snaps 4-game road losing streak, tops Butler

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Georgetown snaps 4-game road losing streak, tops Butler

INDIANAPOLIS -- Marcus Derrickson tied a career-high with 27 points, on 11-of-13 shooting, for his eighth 20-plus point game this season and Georgetown beat Butler 87-83 on Tuesday night.

After Georgetown missed two free throws, Kamar Baldwin made a scoop shot in the lane and Sean McDermott stole the inbounds pass, leading to another Baldwin basket to pull Butler to 84-81 with 1:29 to go.

Butler had a chance to tie it in the closing seconds, but Baldwin's long 3-pointer was short and Jahvon Blair sealed it at the line at 4.5.

Jessie Govan had his 12th double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds for Georgetown (15-10, 5-9 Big East). Trey Dickerson, a senior averaging 3.5 points per game, set a career-high in the first half with 12 points and finished with 18.

Kelan Martin had 22 points and eight rebounds to reach 20 points for the 17th time this season for Butler (17-10, 7-7). Tyler Wideman added 19 points and Baldwin had 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

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