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Mandy Alonso wants to make it five straight

Mandy Alonso
Mandy Alonso. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Mack Brown, get the printer ready. We’ve got some material for your bulletin board, courtesy UVA defensive lineman Mandy Alonso.

Brown, through the media, on Monday tried to buck up his team by highlighting that he thinks his team has been out-physicaled the past two years in losses to Virginia.

Alonso, it appears, agrees on that point.

“I mean, UNC, they always try to come physical. But um, what Mendenhall has been saying the past four years is that it’s our culture versus theirs, like, we’re going go harder, longer each play, and, like, the whole game, than they will. And even if they come out swinging, like, we just have to be able to sustain it. And we know that they can’t sustain it, because the past four years, they haven’t been able to,” Alonso said.

That’s right. Brown was talking about the past two years, because he’s only been back in Chapel Hill for the past two years.

Virginia has actually won four straight against North Carolina.

As important as it is to Brown and his players to break that streak, it’s as important – maybe more – to Alonso and his ‘mates to prolong it.

“I mean, it’s important because, like, you see all those streaks that they have in football, basketball, and, like, how many ever days it’s been since we lost to them, and, like, I want to be able to leave UVA saying, I never lost a UNC, no matter who’s back there at quarterback or running back, or whoever’s on their defense,” Alonso said.

“I think it’s very significant, just because the past four years, like, they have been the all the hype in the Coastal, them and Miami, and we continue to beat them year in and year out,” Alonso said. “And I think that both in like all in all different sports, like basketball, football, like, it’s always been a rivalry, and just being at the top of the Coastal, like, we have to go through them, and we have to beat this team, because they’ve shown that they could beat any other team in the Coastal. So it’s Tech, so it’s Miami, and just this being the first one, it makes the rivalry even more sweeter.”

Virginia comes into the game with a 2-0 record, though the Cavaliers haven’t really been tested yet – the closest thing to a test coming last week with Big Ten opponent Illinois coming to town, but the Illini were picked dead last in their B1G division, and had lost the week prior to Texas-San Antonio.

UNC is 1-1, the loss on the road at Virginia Tech, a 17-10 setback that saw preseason ACC Player of the Year Sam Howell throw three interceptions.

The UVA side has studied the heck out of that game tape.

Alonso’s assessment: “I honestly thought they just (Virginia Tech) tried harder, and they wanted more, especially on the defensive side,” he said. “Like, against that offensive line, it just looked like they were more physical longer. And they just, they wouldn’t quit, and, like, no matter how long the rush had to take, like they were getting back there. And I thought Virginia Tech’s guys covered well, for Sam Howell to be able to sit back there a while and wait for the rush to come to him.”

Howell threw for 443 yards and four touchdowns against UVA in last year’s 44-41 Tar Heels loss.

The key for Virginia this Saturday night will be getting pressure on Howell and coverage downfield.

“I see it as both,” Alonso said. “Like, the defense, we have to play within one another. And, like, for me to get back there, there has to be some coverage. But also, like, if they’re covering two, three, like three, four seconds, like, I need to get time to get back there, and I need to get there quick, so I don’t put, like, too much pressure on the DBs to cover for an X amount of seconds.”

Five straight would be huge because it would be five straight – and a chance to change the narrative.

“It’s a huge game, big picture, because we’ve heard all the hype that UNC has had from the media and from the top 25 rankings and such. And it’s just things that we need to keep into account that way. Like, once we beat them, then we’ll actually be respectable or talked about on ACC Network or SportsCenter and stuff like that,” Alonso said.

Note to Coach Brown: just hit the print-friendly icon below.

Story by Chris Graham