UVA dominates UConn, wins 38-18

UVA put together its most complete effort to date under second-year coach Bronco Mendenhall, easily dispatching of UConn on Saturday by a 38-18 final.

uva footballThe Cavs (2-1) led 24-0 at the half as senior quarterback Kurt Benkert threw for 204 yards and a touchdown in the opening 30 minutes, and led Virginia on a pair of TD drives in the final five minutes of the second quarter.

Both came after the Huskies (1-1) failed to convert fourth downs in UVA territory. Benkert connected with Doni Dowling on a 42-yard touchdown pass after the first stop, then led UVA on a six-play, 53-yard drive capped by a Jordan Ellis 7-yard TD run with 31 seconds left to monetize that one.

Another fourth-down stop in the third quarter, inside the Virginia 10, led to another ‘Hoos score, on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Benkert to Olamide Zaccheaus, extending the UVA lead to 31-0.

UConn finally got on the board on a trick play, out of a wildcat formation featuring backup quarterback David Pindell taking the snap, handing off and the ball ending up in the hands of starting QB Bryant Shirreffs, who connected with Hergy Mayala on a 60-yard bomb.

Shirreffs and Mayala hooked up in the fourth quarter on a 17-yard TD pass with 6:58 to go. The Huskies went for two after both scores, and failed on both.

Benkert and Andre Levrone closed out the scoring for Virginia with a 73-yard catch-and-run TD with 6:02 to go. On the pass, Benkert broke his own single-game school passing record, with 455 yards, completing 30 of his 40 pass attempts, with three touchdown passes and one inteception.

A 30-yard Kevin Mensah TD run in garbage time, and another failed UConn two-point try, provided the final entries of note in the box score.

Virginia piled up 626 yards of total offense, including an impressive 171 yards on the ground, on 31 attempts. UVA had run for a total of 147 yards on 56 attempts in its first two games.

Oladmide Zaccheaus put up big numbers across the board, hauling in nine catches for 122 yards, and gaining 47 more on the ground.

Two other Cav receivers surpassed the 100-yard mark – Doni Dowling had 136 yards on six catches, and Andre Levrone had 127 yards on four catches.

Jordan Ellis had a season-best 95 yards rushing on 20 carries.

Micah Kiser had 15 tackles and two sacks to lead the Virginia D, which surrendered a season-high 434 yards to the Huskies, though 161 of those yards came in the fourth quarter in garbage time.

Shirreffs finished with 227 yards passing, completing 18 of his 26 attempts, with two touchdowns, but he had a pass intercepted at the UVA 1, and lost a fumble at the UVA 3, snuffing out two prime first-half scoring opportunities.

Story by Chris Graham

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