Freeze knows Perkins can beat Flames in multiple ways

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Back in July, Bryce Perkins received six votes for the preseason ACC Player of the Year.

Liberty coach Hugh Freeze says that's the Perkins he sees on film, as his team prepares to face the Virginia quarterback on Saturday afternoon at Scott Stadium.

"I don't know who will receive the player of the year in the ACC, but I would be shocked if he's not in the discussion," Freeze said this week. "Perkins is, I think probably 80 percent of the offense goes through him."

With two weeks left in the regular season, Perkins is second in the ACC in both completion percentage (64.9) and passing yards (2,439). His 131.1 passing efficiency is fourth in the league. Perkins is also the Cavaliers' leading rusher with 493 yards -- good for 14th overall and the most among quarterbacks in the conference.

Perkins played arguably his two best games prior to UVA's bye last weekend. In the Cavaliers' 38-31 win at North Carolina, Perkins set a new school record with 490 total yards (378 passing, 112 rushing). He followed that with another 258 passing yards and 106 yards on the ground the following weekend against Georgia Tech, a 33-28 UVA victory.

Perkins also combined to throw for four touchdowns and run for three more in those two games -- and after throwing eight interceptions in UVA's first eight games, didn't throw a single pick in either victory.

Hindered by a preseason injury to his right knee for much of his senior year, Perkins said this week that UVA's off weekend helped him and his teammates get healthy for their final regular season stretch.

"It feels great. I don't have any problems with it," Perkins said. "It's not even a thought in my mind, about the knee."

On Saturday, Perkins will face a Liberty defense that ranks 89th nationally in yards allowed, giving up 424.3 per game. The Flames have been better against the pass than the run, ranking 69th in the country in pass defense (231.3 yards allowed per game), compared to 98th in run defense (193.0).

Freeze says that with the way UVA uses Perkins -- "Almost every pass is a designed draw, whether it's designed that way or not," the coach said -- the Flames will need to be ready for the quarterback to come at them in either fashion on every snap.

"We're going to have to play extremely well defensively," Freeze said. "Not only against their run game, pass game, but every play being a possible draw for him. He's that talented."

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