Cavalier Corner

August 2021

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AUGUST 2021 13 2021 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY JEFF WHITE A fter stringing together four straight victories to rise above .500 for the first time in a sea- son played amid a pandemic, UVA closed 2020 by losing to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The Cavaliers, who chose not to play in a bowl game, finished a challenging campaign with a 5-5 record. From that team, numerous veterans return on each side of the ball — including third-year quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who had a breakout year in 2020. Injuries ravaged UVA's secondary in 2019 and again last season, and the team's health, as always, will be a major storyline this fall. But expectations are high for the Cavaliers as they head into their sixth season under head coach Bronco Mendenhall. "I like our experience, I like our depth, I like our team," Mendenhall said. "We have as good a chance as anyone in the Coastal Division." The pandemic forced the ACC to alter its regular-season format in 2020, so the Wahoos, who won the division in 2019, are still the reigning Coastal champions. But Mendenhall knows the Hoos must fare better away from Scott Stadium if they hope to retain the crown. The Cavaliers have won 17 of their past 19 games at home. The challenge for them now, Mendenhall said, is to play better on the road. "That's the next level of expansion," he said. "To have consistency in our program, to maintain what we're already doing at home, which is very strong, then that has to travel, and that hasn't yet." The Cavaliers, who open Sept. 4 against William & Mary at Scott Stadium, are sched- uled to play seven regular-season home games. Their road contests are against North Carolina, Miami, Louisville, BYU and Pittsburgh. Coming off a season in which, because of COVID-19 protocols, they played most of their games in nearly empty stadiums, the Hoos can't wait to hear the roar of crowds again. "It's going to be exhilarating," fourth- year safety Joey Blount said. OFFENSE During its winning streak last season, Virginia put up 44 points against North Carolina, 31 against Louisville, 55 against Abilene Christian and 43 against Boston College. For the season, the Cavaliers aver- aged 30.7 points per game, which ranked 2021 2021 FOOTBALL FOOTBALL PREVIEW PREVIEW Hoos Will Look To Veterans And Hope To Transfer Home Success To The Road During a breakout 2020 campaign, third-year quarterback Brennan Armstrong led the Cava- liers in rushing with 61.3 yards per game and threw 18 touchdown passes. PHOTO BY AL DIAZ/COURTESY ACC

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