UVa Football Practicing in Annapolis; Preparing for Military Bowl

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Senior QB Kurt Benkert Senior QB Kurt Benkert
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall Head coach Bronco Mendenhall
Senior linebacker Micah Kiser Senior linebacker Micah Kiser

The Virginia football team will play in its first bowl game in six years on Thursday, as the Cavaliers will face Navy in the Military Bowl in Annapolis.

UVa was practicing in the cold weather at St. John's High School in Washington D.C. on Tuesday afternoon.

The temperature is expected to be below freezing during the bowl game on Thursday.

The Wahoos have been taking in the sights of Annapolis and Washington D.C. as part of the bowl-week experience.

The players celebrated the holidays with their teammates, and while it's been a busy schedule, head coach Bronco Mendenhall says his team will be ready to face the Midshipmen on Thursday.

"We've had a plenty of time to prepare," says Mendenhall.  "It's been good for our program. It's been great for our kids, and I think they're excited to play. Managing this length of practice, plus the bowl activities, I think is a good challenge for them."

Senior offensive lineman Jack English says, "Coach Mendenhall has done a good job of framing the day in the early team meeting. We start the day with football, and then sort of have an event and hang out in the afternoon, so it's broken up pretty well, and there's plenty of time for us to get a little bit of everything."

Senior safety Quin Blanding says, "We know what the weather is going to be like. We know what the conditions are going to be like. We know what the offense is going to do. We know what the defense is going to do. We just got to go out there and play our game."

"You can't ask for a better holiday season," adds senior wide receiver Andre Levrone.  "I had a great Christmas, so I'm just looking forward to Thursday."

Micah Kiser may have had a little trouble wrapping and unwrapping presents, as the All-American linebacker is still sporting a protective cast on his right thumb.

The senior had surgery on the thumb earlier this month.

Kiser led the ACC with 134-tackles this season, and he is just the second player to lead the conference in tackles in three consecutive seasons.

The Campbell Trophy-winner played the final four games of the season with a torn ligament in his right thumb, and he says he'll be ready to go in his final collegiate game on Thursday.

"It's just playing football," says Kiser.  "Injuries happen. Everyone is injured. Everyone is hurt. This you can just see a little better than others. I'm just going to go out there and give it my best. " 

Virginia and Navy will kickoff in the Military Bowl on Thursday at 1:30 PM in Annapolis, Maryland.