Virginia Heads to Miami for Thursday Night Showdown

College Sports

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia (2-2, 0-2 ACC) will head south to take on Miami (2-2, 0-0 ACC) at Hard Rock Stadium on Thursday night (Sept. 30) The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. and will air live on ESPN.

GAME COVERAGE: In addition to the ESPN broadcast, fans can stream the game live on ESPN.com or the ESPN app. The contest can be heard on Virginia Sports Radio Networks around the commonwealth and live on VirginiaSports.com. A list of stations can be found here. Fans can follow along via live stats and the Virginia Mobile app and get in-game updates on the team’s official twitter account, @UVAFootball.

OPENING KICK

• Virginia will play the first of back-to-back road games beginning with Thursday’s contest against Miami. The Cavaliers are seeking their first win away from Charlottesville since Nov. 2, 2019 against North Carolina.

• The Cavaliers will play their fourth night game of the season and will play on Thursday for the first time since the 2017 Military Bowl.

•The Cavaliers have played four or more night games every year since 2018 and own a 10-12 mark at night under Bronco Mendenhall.

• Virginia travels to Coastal Division foe Miami for the third consecutive season. UVA has never played an ACC foe three-straight years on the road. Virginia has played at Clemson three-consecutive times on the road but not in consecutive years (1973, 1974 and 1977).

• UVA comes into the contest with the most passing yards in the country (1,722) and Miami has allowed 983 yards through the air in its first four games, second most in the ACC.

AGAINST MIAMI

• Miami leads 11-7 in the all-time series that dates back to the 1996 Carquest Bowl. The two teams have met every year since 2004.

• The Hurricanes have won the back-to-back meetings against Virginia including a 19-14 win last season. 

• Miami has won three-straight against the Cavaliers on two different occasions (1996-2005 and 2015-17)

• Miami led in last year’s meeting for all but 27 seconds thanks to a 43-yard touchdown pass from D’Eriq King to Michael Harley on the seconod play of the game. Virginia pulled within five points after a six-play 94-yard drive that ended with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Brennan Armstrong to Ra’Shaun Henry. 

• The Cavaliers last win at Miami was on Oct. 27, 2011. Virginia scored the first 17 points and held on for a 28-21 victory. Michael Rocco passed for 226 yards and two touchdowns, including a 78-yard strike to Perry Jones in the fourth quarter.

VIRGINIA ON THURSDAY

• UVA is playing its 23rd all-time game on a Thursday.

• The Cavaliers last played on the Thursday night game on ESPN back in 2012, a 37-13 loss at home against North Carolina 

• UVA has an all-time record of 7-15 on Thursday.

• UVA’s first Thursday game was on Nov. 25, 1937 at North Carolina.

VIRGINIA AT NFL STADIUMS

• Virginia is 12-23 all-time in venues that at the time of the contest were active NFL stadiums. 

• Seven of the 14 NFL stadiums UVA has played in are still active today.

• After losing seven games in a row in NFL stadiums, UVA snapped the streak with a 28-0 triumph over South Carolina in the 2018 Belk Bowl (Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium).

• Thursday is the fourth game UVA has played at Hard Rock Stadium since 2019. In addition to three matchups against Miami, UVA played Florida in the 2020 Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium. 

12 CAVALIERS RETURN HOME TO SUNSHINE STATE

• Virginia defensive lineman Mandy Alonso hails from Miami and starred at Gulliver Prep. Saturday will be Alonso’s fifth career game for Virginia at Hard Rock Stadium. Alonso started the 2017, 2019 and 2020 meetings against Miami and also appeared in the 2019 Orange Bowl against Florida. In three career games as a Cavalier at Hard Rock Stadium Alonso has 10 tackles, 3.0 TFL and 1.5 sacks.

• Alonso is one of 12 Cavaliers from Florida. Other “South Beach” area natives include Anthony Johnson (Coconut Creek) Sean Moore (Cutler Bay) and D’Sean Perry (Miami). The other eight Cavaliers from Florida are: Antonio Clary (Jacksonville), Jacob Finn (Jacksonville), Josh Hayes (Lakeland), Artie Henry (Sarasota), David Herard (Fort Lauderdale), Jordan Redmond (Kissimmee), Ryan Swoboda (Windermere) and Zachary Teter (Lakeland).

CAVALIERS PASSING ATTACK

• Virginia leads the country in passing yards per game with 430.5 and is second only to Fresno State (1,988 in five games) in total yards. 

• Quarterback Brennan Armstrong is credited with 1,705 of those passing yards and his 426.52 per game are the most of any signal caller in the country. He is averaging 438.2 yards per game in total offense, also the most of any player in the country.

• Armstrong ranks 4th in the FBS in completion percentage (66.7%), fourth in points responsible for (92), sixth in points responsible for per game (23.0), and sixth in passing touchdowns in 2013. He is second in the ACC in all four of those categories. 

• His 13 touchdown passes Tajh Boyd (Clemson) Jerod Evans (Virginia Tech), Lamar Jackson (Louisville) and Philip Rivers (NC State) for the most by an ACC quarterback in the first four games since 2000.

ARMSTRONG CONTINUES TO PUT UP BIG NUMBERS

• Brennan Armstrong has thrown for 300 yards in four-straight games. Only Matt Schaub (8), Aaron Brooks (6), Bryce Perkins (5) and Armstrong (5) have five or more 300-yard passing games in their careers. Armstrong is the only one of the group to throw for 300 in four consecutive games.

• Armstrong has amassed 1,753 yards of total offense which includes 400-plus yards in each of his last three games. His 538 yards against North Carolina were a single-game program record. Including Armstrong, only four players in UVA history have put together 400 yards of total offense in a game – Bryce Perkins (twice), Benkert (twice) and Mark Verica (once).

• Armstrong threw for 400 yards for the third time this season against Wake Forest. His 407 yards were the fifth most in a game in program history.

400-Yard Passing Games in UVA History

554 – Brennan Armstrong vs. North Carolina (2021)

455 – Kurt Benkert vs. UConn (2017)

421 – Kurt Benkert vs. Central Michigan (2016)

417 – Marc Verica at Duke (2010)

407 – Brennan Armstrong vs. Wake Forest (2021)

405 – Brennan Armstrong vs. Illinois (2021)

*5 of 6 performances have come in Bronco Mendenhall era (2016-present)

ON THE RECEIVING END

• Dontayvion Wicks caught a career-high eight passes for 114 yards and a touchdown against Wake Forest. He has now caught three touchdowns in the last two games. 

• Wicks is the first Cavalier wide receiver with back-to-back 100-yard receiving games (183 at UNC; 114 vs. Wake Forest) since Hasise Dubois in 2019 (Virginia Tech & Clemson).

• Jelani Woods, Ra’Shaun Henry, Billy Kemp, Keytaon Thompson, Mike Hollins & Dontayvion Wicks have each caught a pass in all four games this season. 

• Against Wake Forest, Woods caught four balls for 73 yards including a 17-yard touchdown catch on the opening drive of the second quarter. Woods has a touchdown in three-straight games. His three touchdowns are tied for the second most by a tight end in the country

• Five Cavalier receivers rank in the top 17 in receiving yards throught four games – Dontayvion Wicks (1st – 460 yards), Billy Kemp (9th – 281), Jelani Woods (11th – 247), Keytaon Thompson (14th – 232) and Ra’Shaun Henry (17th – 224). 

• Woods’ 247 yards receiving are the fifth most in the country by a tight end.

• Armstrong has spread the ball around in each of the first four games. At least nine different receivers have caught a pass in each game this season including a season-high 11 against North Carolina.

Number of Receivers to Catch a Pass

William & Mary – 9

Illinois – 10

North Carolina – 11

Wake Forest – 9 

APPROACHING MILESTONES

• Wide receiver Billy Kemp moved into 12th place on UVA’s career reception list. He now has 127 for his career and needs two catches to crack the top-10 and tie former teammate Joe Reed (2016-19) and Perry Jones (2009-12) for ninth place.

• Defensive back De’Vante Cross is expected to make his 30th start at UVA and has made 28-straight since arriving on grounds, the longest streak of any defensive player.

• Running back Wayne Taulapapa needs 51 yards to become the 45th UVA rusher to reach 1,000 career rushing yards.

• Left tackle Ryan Nelson is poised to make his 42nd-straight start for the Cavaliers, the most career starts and most consecutive starts of anyone on the team.

DEFENSIVE/SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES

• Nick Jackson and Joey Blount co-led the Cavaliers with 11 tackles each against Wake Forest. 

• Jackson has posted double-digit tackles in three of the four games this season and now has 173 for his career. His 40 tackles this season are the second most in the ACC and ranked 15th in FBS.

• The 11 tackles for Blount were two shy of a career high. His 6.0 solo tackles per game are the second most amongst his ACC cohorts and ranked 12 in the NCAA. 

• Against North Carolina, Fentrell Cypress recorded his first career interception picking off a Sam Howell pass in the end zone and returning it 66 yards. The return was the 11th longest in program history.

• Mike Hollins fielded four kickoff against Wake Forest for 71 yards, the first fielded kickoff for UVA since week one against William & Mary. Hollins finished with a career-best 127 all-purpose yards.

• Specialist Brendan Farrell was credited with his first point, converting an extra point attempt on UVA’s second touchdown against Wake Forest.

NATIONAL/ACC RANKINGS

  • Virginia enters Friday with the No. 2 passing offense in the country behind Western Kentucky (456.6). The Cavaliers are averaging 438.3 yards per game through the air.
  • The Cavaliers enter the week averaging 559.3 yards of total offense, tops in the ACC and fourth most of any school in FBS.
  • Brennan Armstrong leads the nation in passing yards per game (432.7). He ranks in the top five in the country in completions per game (2nd – 29), passing touchdowns (2nd – 11), passing yards (2nd – 1,298), points responsible for (3rd – 80), passing efficiency (4th – 188.7) and points responsible for per game (4th – 26.7)
  • Virginia has 80 first downs this season, the third most in the ACC and the 13th most in the country.

RECORD BREAKING PERFORMANCE

  • The Cavaliers broke the school single-game record for passing yards with 553 against North Carolina.
  • It was the first time a UVA quarterback and a UVA offense accumulated 500 yards or more passing. It marked only the fifth time UVA has thrown for 400 or more yards as a team and the second time its passed for 400 or more yards in an ACC contest.

Most Team Passing Yards in a game (UVA history)

  1. vs. UNC (2021) – 553
  2. vs. Louisiana Tech (2012) – 480
  3. vs. UConn – (2017) – 455
  4. vs. Duke – (2010) – 417
  5. vs. Abilene Christian – (2020) – 403

ARMSTRONG’S CAREER NIGHT IN CHAPEL HILL

  • Brennan Armstrong passed for school-record 554 yards in UVA’s 59-39 loss at North Carolina. It was the third-highest single-game total in ACC History.

Top ACC Passing Games

  1. Deshaun Watson (Clemson) – 580 vs. Pitt in 2016
  2. Stephen Morris (Miami) – 566 vs. NC State in 2012
  3. Brennan Armstrong (UVA) – 554 vs. North Carolina in 2021
  4. Rusty LaRue (Wake Forest) – 545 vs. NC state in 1995
  5. Chris Weinke (Florida State) – 536 vs. Duke in 2000
  • Armstrong is the first Cavalier quarterback to pass for 300 yards in consecutive games.
  • Armstrong accounted for 538 yards of total offense, breaking the program’s single game record previously held by Bryce Perkins (490 yards) against North Carolina in 2019. It was the seventh highest single-game total in ACC history.
  • The 538 yards of total offense and the 554 yards passing are the most by any FBS player this season.
  • Armstrong established career-highs in completions (39), attempts (54), passing yards (554), total yards and (538). It marked the second-straight week he established new career highs in completions and passing yards.
  • The 554 yards passing was the most ever by a quarterback against North Carolina. Dave Brown of Duke set the previous record of 479 in 1989.
  • Armstrong also set a UVA first half record, 364 yards in the first half.

550 Yard Passing Performances vs. Power 5 Opponents (Since 2015)

734 – Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech)  Texas Tech (2016)
623 – K.J. Costello (Miss. St.) vs. LSU (2020)
606 – Anthony Gordon (Washington St.) vs. Oregon State (2019)
598 – Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) vs. Oklahoma State (2017)
580 – Deshaun Watson (Clemson) vs. Pitt (2016)
572 – David Blough (Purdue) vs. Missouri (2018)
570 – Anthony Gordon (Washington St.) vs. UCLA (2019)
554 – Brennan Armstrong (UVA) vs. North Carolina (2021)
550 – Sam Howell (UNC) vs. Wake Forest (2020)

ON THE RECEIVING END

  • Wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks established career-highs in receptions (7) and yards (183) on Saturday against North Carolina. His 183 yards receiving were the sixth-highest single-game total ever by a UVA receiver. He caught a 40-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, the second TD reception of 40 or more yards in his career (44 vs. Liberty in 2019).
  • Wicks was the first UVA wideout with 150 yards in a game since Olamide Zaccheaus’ school record 247 against Ohio in 2018.
  • After three weeks of action, Wicks is second in the ACC in yards receiving with 346. He ranks in the top-10 in all purpose yards per game (7th – 115.3), receiving touchdowns (T-3 – 3) and yards per reception (T-2 – 24.71)
  • Billy Kemp established career highs in yards (106) and touchdowns (2) against North Carolina. Kemp had a 32-yard reception in the 2nd quarter, a career-long.
  • Virginia had two wide receivers with 100 or more receiving yards (Wicks-183, Kemp-106) against North Carolina, the first time since 2019 when Hasise Dubois (143) and Joe Reed (107) vs. Notre Dame in 2019.
  • Armstrong and Keytaon Thompson found 11 different receivers against North Carolina. Jacob Rodriguez and Malachi Fields hauled in the first receptions of their careers against North Carolina.
  • Virginia has five players ranked in the ACC’s top 17 in receiving yards (No. 2. Wicks, No. 7. Kemp No. 11. Thompson, No. 15. Woods, No. 17. Henry)

HISTORIC OFFENSIVE START

  • The Cavaliers have amassed 1,678 yards of total offense through the first three games, tops in the ACC and the sixth most in the country.
  • This season marks the second time in program history Virginia has started the year with 500 yards of total offense in its first three games. UVA started the 2004 season with 504 yards at Temple, 549 yards against North Carolina and 522 yards against Akron.
  • Through three games this season Virginia has posted total offense figures of 545 (vs. William & Mary), 556 (vs. Illinois) and 577 (at North Carolina).

MILESTONE WATCH

  • Billy Kemp currently ranks 14th on UVA’s all-time receptions list and is nine catches away from entering the top-10 and can move up to 13th with two catches to tie Germane Crowell (1994-97
  • Left tackle Ryan Nelson is poised to make his 41st-straight start for the Cavaliers, the most career starts and most consecutive starts of anyone on the team.
  • Wayne Taulapapa needs 51 more yards rushing to become the 45th Cavalier to eclipse 1,000 yards for his career.

DEFENSIVE/SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES

  • Linebacker Noah Taylor was credited with a career-high 12 tackles against North Carolina, the first double-digit tackle effort of his career.
  • Fentrell Cypress recorded his first career interception picking off a Sam Howell pass in the end zone and returning it 66 yards. The return was the 11th longest in program history.
  • Virginia special teams has not fielded a kick return since week one against William & Mary. Opponents have kicked 13-straight touchbacks, including 10 by North Carolina on Saturday.
  • The Cavaliers did not give up a red zone score this season until the second half against North Carolina. The Cavaliers rank third in the ACC and 17th in the country in red zone defense (0.600)
  • Kicker Justin Duenkel has 14 touchbacks this season. Virginia is ranked 15th in the country in kick return defense (12.5 yards per return).

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