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UVA Players and Coaches Excited for Challenge of Playing in Military Bowl

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The Cavaliers are playing in the Military Bowl for the first time The Cavaliers are playing in the Military Bowl for the first time
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Virginia will play Navy in the Military Bowl for what is the 40th all-time meeting between these programs, but its the first since 1994.

The game is scheduled for December 28th at 1:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN.

This is the Cavaliers first-ever appearance in the Military Bowl, which is played in Annapolis, Maryland at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

While the game will be played on Navy's home field, there's about 40,000 UVa alumni living in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

There should be plenty of 'Hoos fans, creating an exciting bowl game atmosphere in the 34,000 seat stadium.

"Its exciting man," says senior wide receiver Andre Levrone. "I've played in the Naval Academy stadium about five or six times in my high school career, all of our championship games were there and we played a few out-of-state opponents there as well.  I'm familiar with the locker rooms, familiar with the field, familiar with the end zone there."

Junior running back Jordan Ellis says, "It's an awesome feeling knowing that we are going to be playing during Christmas break and stuff like that, we're going to be at home, we're going to be with our teammates and that's ultimately what we want."

Navy runs an option-offense and rarely passes the ball.

It's similar to Georgia Tech's triple option offense.

Virginia beat the Yellow Jackets 40-36 last month.

"We know what to expect," says sophomore linebacker Jordan Mack. "We know what it's going to look like, we know how fast it's going to be. Mentally you know what you have to do to get ready for that."

"It's not only the bowl game, but it's the next hard thing and we play them at (their) home (field) so things continue to line up to provide challenges for growth and foundation elements for building our program," says Bronco Mendenhall. "When you play an option team you get tons of fundamental work, which is exactly where our program is and what we need."

Both Navy and Virginia started hot this season and then lost five of the last six regular season games.

The Cavaliers enter the bowl game with a record of 6-6.

A Wahoo win means Virginia finishes the season with a winning record for the first time in six years.

"I think that's huge to send the seniors out the best way possible," says junior offensive lineman Jake Fieler. "We haven't seen one (a winning season) since I've been here and even the guys one year ahead of me haven't see one. I think that would be the main goal this season, having a winning season turn this thing around."

"Seven is better than six and postseason is a great mark and something we were shooting for," says Mendenhall. "Winning the game would be another huge step and accelerate the growth which is what we're trying to do, accelerate our growth as quickly as possible and this type of game in this type of setting against this type of opponent is a foundational piece for moving one more step on our continuum.

The UVa football team will stay in a hotel in downtown Washington D.C., leading up to the bowl game.

The itinerary includes a visit to the U.S. Capitol. and many of Washington's museums.