Cavalier Corner

February 2019

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22 CAVALIER CORNER "We had a lot to play for and still have a lot to play for. "Our players embraced a pretty fierce work ethic under the premise that it was the best Christmas gift that I could give them, was [to] work with the best chance to have these memories. I'm gratified and just thankful for Olamide [Zaccheaus], his leadership, for our team trusting that it would work, and then playing their hearts out today for all of us associated with the program." After opening with a 42-13 win over Richmond, UVA went on the road and played in the middle of a monsoon during a 20-16 loss at Indiana. With Hurricane Florence forcing their Sept. 15 matchup with Ohio to be played in Nashville, Tenn., the Wahoos rolled to a 45-31 win before coming back to Scott Stadium and routing Louisville 27-3 the next weekend. A 35-21 loss the next Saturday at North Carolina State was followed by a three- game winning streak, with Virginia beating Miami 16-13 at home and then topping both Duke (28-14 in Durham) and North Caro- lina (31-21) by double digits. The Cavaliers had a shot at closing in on a Coastal Divi- sion crown, but fell to Pitt 23-13 at home before beating Liberty the next weekend 45-24 to close out their non-conference slate. The regular season ended with over- time losses at Georgia Tech (30-27) and to the Hokies (34-31) in Blacksburg. All told, though, it was a year of quantifi- able progress thanks to the play of a host of contributors, namely Zaccheaus, the fourth- year wide receiver; third-year quarterback Bryce Perkins and third-year cornerback Bryce Hall. Zaccheaus, who was named the Belk Bowl MVP following his 12-catch, 100- yard, three-touchdown performance, went out on the highest of notes even if he would rather he didn't have to go out at all. "Honestly, I wish I had another year," he said. "I know next year is going to be even better than this year. I'm just happy to be able to leave this place better than I found it, and I'm appreciative to Coach Mendenhall and his coaching staff for everything that they've done for me and my teammates and just everyone who is involved with this program." Zaccheaus, now the school's all-time re- ceptions leader, as well as the record holder for most catches in a bowl game and tied for most scoring receptions in one as well, finished his career with 250 receptions for 2,753 yards (second all time at UVA) and 22 touchdowns. "It's work that pays off," Zaccheaus said. "Coach Mendenhall always says that it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when." As Mendenhall himself also said, there's no way Virginia has the season it had with- out the play of Perkins, an Arizona native and junior college transfer who was sensa- tional throughout. He finished No. 1 in the ACC and 13th nationally in points respon- sible for (206), passed for 2,680 yards and 25 touchdowns, and rushed for 923 yards and nine scores. "We're just very fortunate he chose UVA," Mendenhall said of Perkins. "I'm very glad that he's here. We don't have an Fourth-year wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus was tabbed as the Belk Bowl MVP after hauling in 12 receptions for 100 yards and three touchdowns in UVA's 28-0 win over South Carolina. PHOTO BY MATT RILEY/COURTESY UVA

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