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'Hoos Aiming for First Bowl Game Win in 13 Years

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UVa coach Bronco Mendenhall UVa coach Bronco Mendenhall

The UVa football team is back on the practice field this week getting ready to play South Carolina in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte.

The 'Hoos took two weeks off after the regular season finale loss to Virginia Tech.

Cavs coach Bronco Mendenhall says it took the full two weeks for his team to get over the loss to Tech.

The 'Hoos still have a chance to accomplish one of their big goals this season.   That's winning a bowl game, something the team hasn't done since winning the Music City Bowl in 2005.

"None of these seniors have won a bowl game since they've been here," says UVa junior quarterback Bryce Perkins.   "For us and for me to do everything I can to help them go out strong, reach one of our goals, I'll do anything in my power.  I'll lay it all on the line for these guys."

Last season, Virginia played in its first bowl game in six years, getting blown out by Navy in the Military Bowl 49-7.

"Essentially it humbled us, says UVa junior cornerback Bryce Hall.   "It exposed us as to where we were weak at."

UVa senior linebacker Chris Peace says, "It's cool and everything, we can have fun but we actually have a game to go win now.  Last year I think we were actually more excited to just get there.  Now it's like we've been here before, what are we going to do differently this time."

"Now the expectation is to win," says senior running back Jordan Ellis.  "It's just a change in mindset.   We're not content with just being there.   We want to win the game and ultimately end the year the right way."

Virginia and South Carolina both have records of 7-5 this season.   The two teams haven't faced each other since the 2003 season.    The Belk Bowl will be the first time UVA and USC have ever faced each other in the postseason.

Chris Peace says about the Gamecocks, "They're talented, real capable, physical up front.  Everybody is going to have to bring their big boy pads."  

"They have a few unique formations and they have some really innovative schemes, especially offensively," says UVa coach Bronco Mendenhall.   "They go at NASCAR tempo, they go fast."

"They're a good, big physical team," says Perkins.  "It's going to come down to who wants it more, our preparation and how well we work through four quarters."

Hall adds, "We look forward to the challenges.   Like coach says the hungriest team is going to come out on top.  We're just hungry and preparing ourselves for that matchup because its going to be a good one."

Virginia and South Carolina will kickoff in the Belk Bowl on Saturday, December 29th at noon in a game televised by ABC.