Game Notes: UVA opens 2021 football season at home vs. W&M

uva footballVirginia football will begin its 2021 campaign on Saturday against William and Mary at Scott Stadium.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and the game will air live on Regional Sports Networks.

Game Coverage

Saturday’s game will air live on ACC Regional Sports Networks and locally in Virginia on MASN2. A complete list of affiliates carrying the game can be found here. The matchup will be available on the ESPN App/ESPN.com and is subject to blackout.

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.

Orange Out

Fans in attendance are encouraged to join the “4th Side Orange Out” by wearing orange to the game.

Season Notes

  • The 2021 season will be the 132nd year of Virginia football and season No. 91 at Scott Stadium.
  • UVA is 83-39-9 all-time in season openers
  • Saturday will mark the 12th time Virginia has squared off against William & Mary to begin a season.
  • The Cavaliers are 77-21-7 (.767) all-time in home season openers and have won 20 of their last 25 season openers in Scott Stadium.
  • Virginia has opened up at Scott Stadium in all but two seasons since 2008.
  • Under Fralin Family Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall, the Cavaliers have won four of five season openers, including a 38-20 victory over Duke at home in 2020.
  • The Cavaliers own a 61-10-3 record against current members of the Colonial Athletic Association.

The Mendenhall era

  • In his first five seasons, Mendenhall has taken the Cavaliers to three bowl games, including the program’s first ever Orange Bowl in 2019.
  • The Cavaliers also claimed the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division title after posting a 6-2 mark in league play in 2019. The six ACC wins were the most since 2007.
  • Mendenhall enters 2021 with a career record of 129-75 and has appeared in 14 bowl games in 16 years as a head coach.
  • With two more wins Mendenhall will enter the top-100 in career wins all-time in college football.
  • Among active NCAA football coaches, Mendenhall’s .632 winning percentage ranks 10th in the country and third amongst his ACC counterparts.

All-time vs. W&M

  • Saturday’s game will be the 38th all-time meeting between William & Mary and Virginia in a series that was first played in 1908, an 11-0 UVA victory.
  • William & Mary did not score a point against Virginia in the first 10 meetings from 1908 to 1938 and have been held under 10 points a total of 20 times.
  • The Cavaliers hold a 30-6-1 advantage in the all-time series.
  • UVA has won four-straight games against the Tribe and 10 of the last 11 dating back to 1988.
  • Virginia is also scheduled to open the 2023 season against William & Mary at Scott Stadium.
  • Saturday will be the second trip to Scott Stadium for Tribe head coach and former UVA coach Mike London. He was UVA’s 39th head coach and was at the helm from 2010-15.
  • Former Cavaliers Darryl Blackstock (outside linebackers coach), Keenan Carter (defensive coordinator), Ras-I Downling (defensive back coach), Matt Johns (quarterbacks coach) and Gordon Sammis (offensive line coach) are members of London’s W&M coaching staff.

Last meeting

  • The last matchup against William & Mary was nearly two years ago to the day, a 52-17 thrashing that saw UVA score 35 points in the first half on Sept. 6, 2019.
  • In the 35-point half, Virginia scored in all three phases of the game that featured an 85-yard interception return by Nick Grant and a 100 kickoff return by Joe Reed. The interception was the first of Grant’s career and the third-longest in UVA history. Reed’s became the fourth Cavalier to return a kick 100 yards and the first since 2004.
  • Quarterback Bryce Perkins threw for 192 yards and two scores. He also accounted or 68 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
  • Running back Mike Hollins scored on his first career carry, a nine-yard scamper to open the second-half scoring. It was one of two touchdowns for the then-freshman and part of a career-best 78-yard night.

‘Hoos at Scott Stadium

  • Against non-conference opponents at Scott Stadium, Virginia is 9-2 under Bronco Mendenhall and has won eight-straight games at home against non-ACC foes.
  • Since 2018 season, Virginia is 17-2 at home. Last year’s loss against NC State in Charlottesville snapped a nine-game win streak at home, the third-longest of the UVA modern era.

Watch lists

Six different Cavalier were named to various national award watch lists leading up to the 2021 season.

  • Quarterback Brennan Armstrong was featured on the Maxwell Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch lists. The Maxwell Award, first presented in 1938, is given to America’s College Player of the Year regardless of position.
  • Center Olsegun Oluwatimi was placed on the Rimington Award watch list for the second straight center. The award recognizes the country’s top center.
  • Pass catching options Jelani Woods and Billy Kemp IV were on the Mackey Award (TE) and the Biletnikoff Award (WR) watch lists, respectively. Woods is a transfer from Oklahoma State and a two-time honorable mention All-Big 12 selection. Kemp IV led the Cavaliers in receptions in 2020, hauling in 67 passes for 644 yards and a touchdown.
  • Linebacker Nick Jackson, a third team All-ACC selection last season was on the Butkus Award Watch list for the nation’s top linebacker.
  • Running back Wayne Taulapapa was included on the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team watch list for his contributions both on the field and in the community.

BA

  • Brennan Armstrong enters his second season as the Cavalier signal caller after starting all but one game in 2020.
  • Armstrong ranked No. 3 in the ACC and No. 18 in the nation with 296.6 yards of total offense a game last season.
  • In his first season as the starter, Armstrong threw for 2,117 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was also responsible for 552 yards on the ground and an additional five scores. The 552 rushing yards were the eight most in the nation among non-option quarterbacks.

O line

  • Headlined by Oluwatimi, Virginia returns six offensive lineman – Ryan Nelson, Bobby Haskins, Ryan Swoboda, Chris Glaser, Oluwatimi and Joe Bissinger that have combined to start 122 games.
  • Last season the offensive line ranked No. 1 in the ACC and No. 12 in the nation in tackles for loss allowed (4.2). It ranked No. 3 in the nation among “Power-5” schools in most rushing yards before contact per rush attempt (.270), trailing just Ohio State and Notre Dame.

D

  • On the other side of the ball, the Cavaliers return five starters that have played in 20 or more college football games – Adeeb Atariwa, Mandy Alonso, De’Vante Cross, Nick Grant and Joey Blount.
  • Atariwa leads all defensive returners with 29 and right behind him is fellow defensive end, Mandy Alonso with 27.
  • Both De’Vante Cross and Nick Grant have started 24-straight games, the longest active streak on the team.

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