Shocker! UVA surrenders 28-point lead, then tops Central Michigan, 49-35

virginia footballWinless UVA led unbeaten Central Michigan 28-0 early in the second quarter, and it wasn’t a fluky 28-0.

The Cavs had four TDs and the Chippewas had just one first down in five series. The rout was on.

And then it wasn’t.

CMU scored two touchdowns before halftime, got a defensive touchdown on a picksix in the third quarter, then asserted control in the fourth in a 35-28 win over the Cavs.

Or anyway, that was what was supposed to happen.

Then there’s what happened. Virginia, having given up the entirety of a 28-point lead at home, took control in the fourth en route to a 49-35 win, Bronco Mendenhall’s first at UVA.

Central Michigan (3-1) had just 47 yards offense at the juncture that it trailed 28-0, but got on the board on a 1-yard Jonathan Ward run, capping a 13-play, 66-yard drive, that made it 28-7 with 4:06 to go in the first half.

The Chippewas forced a Virginia punt, then scored on a quick-strike 85-yard TD pass from Cooper Rush to Corey Willis that made it 28-14 and turned momentum in CMU’s direction.

The Cavs (1-3) moved the ball in spurts in the third quarter, but a Jackson Matteo unsportsmanlike conduct penalty snuffed out one drive, and the picksix by Amari Coleman, who jumped a wide-receiver screen, made it 28-21 with 6:21 to go in the third.

A 14-yard Willis TD reception on the first play of the fourth quarter tied the game at 28.

You knew what was going to happen at this stage. The UVA D was gassed, the offense was sputtering.

But then it all came together, first with a defensive stop at midfield, then with an 82-yard TD pass from Kurt Benkert to Olamide Zaccheaus that put Virginia back on top, 35-28, with 9:36 to go.

Benkert kept that play alive after his initial reads were covered, sprinting out to the left and throwing against his body to connect with Zaccheaus, who broke upfield as the CMU secondary focused on defending the first-down marker.

The Cavs defense got another stop, and UVA took its next drive 73 yards on eight plays, striking paydirt on a five-yard TD pass from Benkert to Albert Reid, to go up two scores.

A Kareem Gibson interception at the UVA 46 on a third-down pass with 4:17 left ended Central Michigan’s last real threat.

A Benkert-to-Taquan Mizzell 54-yard TD pass on the next play from scrimmage put the final nail in the coffin.

Central Michigan put up a meaningless score in garbage time, on a Jahray Hayes 5-yard TD run with 48 seconds left, to close out the scoring.

So, yeah, wow.

Benkert finished with 421 yards passing, completing 27 of his 43 attempts, with five touchdown passes and the one interception.

Virginia gained a season-high 569 yards of total offense.

Zaccheaus had 141 yards receiving on eight catches and two TDs. Mizzell had six catches for 89 yards and a TD, and ran for 79 yards on 10 carries and another score.

Doni Dowling had five catches for 98 yards. Keeon Johnson had 59 yards receiving on four catches.

Reid ran for 47 yards on 10 carries with a rushing touchdown, and had 10 yards on two catches and a touchdown receiving.

Quin Blanding had 12 tackles, seven solo, and one pass breakup for the Virginia defense, which gave up, ouch, babe, 495 yards to the Chippewas.

Zach Bradshaw had eight tackles, five solo, with a sack and two pass breakups.

Rush was 25-for-45 passing for 402 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.

augusta free press
augusta free press news

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

AFP Business

As professional consultants, Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including website design, SEO, TV/radio, video work, branding and logos, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation. Augusta Free Press LLC was founded in 2002.

Web Design

Augusta Free Press has designed more than 800 websites for clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design, content development and SEO. Short on staff? We’ll work with you to update your AFP-designed website in a timely manner or train your staff to make changes.

Marketing/Social Media Management

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.

Graphic Design

Augusta Free Press will help you take your vision to the next level. From branding and logos to print materials, our team will work with you to develop products to showcase your business. From brochures and rack cards to full-color magazines or print/digital ads, we’ve got you covered.

Event Planning/Fundraising

Augusta Free Press will help you plan the best event for your organization. From an open house or anniversary to a 5K or Pay Per View, we can handle it all. Looking for training for your sales staff? We can help energize your employees or board. Need ideas to raise more money? Let us help you plan a successful event. Want to hold a news conference or need help with a press release? We can do that too.

Click here for more.