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UVA thumps Louisville in ACC opener, 27-3

uva footballUVA football found out something about itself on Saturday: that it can win when people expect it.

The ‘Hoos pulled away in the second half, getting 275 total yards and three touchdowns from quarterback Bryce Perkins, while holding Louisville to 214 yards total offense, in a 27-3 win.

Virginia (3-1, 1-0 ACC) entered the game as a five-and-a-half point favorite, and took the ball down the field on its first offensive possession, getting to a first-and-goal before the drive stalled, and then placekicker A.J. Mejia missed from 32 yards.

The ‘Hoos would end up driving inside the Cardinals 10 three times in the first half, but would only get two field goals from Hunter Pearson, who replaced Mejia after that first miss, to lead 6-0 at the break.

Perkins made his only mistake of the day on Virginia’s first series of the second half, overthrowing Olamide Zaccheaus on a third-and-long slant, the ball intercepted by Rodjay Burns and returned to the UVA 3, to set up Louisville with a first-and-goal.

The UVA defense stiffened, getting a stop on third-and-goal from the 3, to force a Blanton Creque 20-yard field goal that cut the lead to 6-3.

Virginia answered with a seven-play, 67-yard drive, highlighted by a Perkins hurdle over a Louisville defender on a 36-yard scramble, that set up a Perkins-to-Chris Sharp 3-yard TD pass that made it 13-3.

Louisville moved the ball with backup quarterback Jawon Pass on its next drive, before Pass, under pressure, overthrow his intended receiver, and instead found Bryce Hall, who returned the pick to the UVA 38.

Perkins would cap the next series for Virginia with a 44-yard TD pass to Joe Reed on a third-and-14 play, after checking the play call at the line, putting the ‘Hoos up 20-3 with 13:08 left.

The two teams would trade punts, then Charles Snowden recovered a fumble by Pass, as he was being sacked by Aaron Faumui, setting up an 8-yard TD run by Perkins, again hurdling a Louisville defender, that put the game out of reach.

Perkins finished with 197 yards passing, completing 17 of his 24 pass attempts, with two touchdowns and the one INT.

The junior QB also ran for 78 yards on 14 attempts with a touchdown on the ground.

Jordan Ellis ran for 65 yards on 20 rushes.

Backup quarterback Brennan Armstrong had 50 yards on the ground, including 34 on a third-and-2 scramble in the second quarter, after Perkins had been knocked out of the game with a hand injury. The run extended that drive and led to a UVA field goal, before Perkins was able to return later in the second quarter.

Virginia outgained Louisville 401-214, limiting the Cardinals (2-2, 0-1 ACC) to 66 yards on 29 attempts on the ground.

Attendance was announced at an embarrassing 34,446, which, UVA fans, you gotta do better than that, because this team is going to win some games.

Story by Chris Graham