Fans Flood Downtown to Support ’Hoos before Season Opener

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The University of Virginia has an uphill battle going into its season opener against the University of California, Los Angeles.

Kickoff is set for noon Saturday at Scott Stadium. The Cavaliers are a three-touchdown underdog for the season opener against seventh-ranked Bruins.

Virginia has won 17 of its last 20 home openers at Scott Stadium. This will be the first time UVA and UCLA have ever played each other. UCLA has national championship hopes and one of the best quarterbacks in the country, Brett Hundley.

"Hundley's been talking to the media saying that he's the best quarterback out there. I know what them guys are thinking. They going to come here all the way from California, roll in here and just smack us around and just blow us out. I already know that's what they're thinking. But we're not thinking that. We're thinking we're going to upset them and send them back on a long flight home. That's just our goal," said UVA junior defensive end Eli Harold.

Attendance is expected to be around 45,000 at Scott Stadium Saturday. Friday night, thousands of people were getting pepped up for the kickoff.

Fans were painting the town orange, all to gear up themselves and the players for the season opener. UVA and the Charlottesville Fire Department put together a parade, filling the downtown mall with some school spirit.

The UVA band, cheerleaders, and Cav Man joined fire vehicles to put on a show for thousands of fans. Battalion Chief Richard Jones says fire crews are always excited for the festivities.

"Anything we can do to be involved with the community, that's what our fire chief and the firefighters want to do. We want to be out there and we want to be meeting people and showing people that we do support everything that the city does and the university does as well,” Jones said.

The fire department started its celebration a week early this year by decorating the town.

"From the pavilion downtown all the way to the Rotunda, you'll see these flags up and down the street where our guys partnered with the University of Virginia and went out and put all the flags up,” Jones said.

The parade ended in the nTelos Wireless Pavilion, where fans got to see some UVA football players. Coach Mike London told the crowd he's confident about this season.

"We're excited about playing this year,” London said. “It's time to bring a championship back home to Charlottesville on the football field so we're with you.”

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