CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. (WVIR) - The Virginia football team ended a fifteen year losing streak against its biggest rival, as the Cavaliers rallied to beat Virginia Tech 39-30 on Friday at Scott Stadium.
Fans stormed the field to celebrate following the final play of the game.
The Hokies had won 19 of the last 20 games against UVa heading into the regular season finale, but the Wahoos’ first win in the rivalry since 2003 gave them their first-ever ACC Coastal Division Championship.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall says, “The stage was not too big for them. The moment was not too big for them. What was at stake was not too big for them. They believed they were capable and prepared to perform in this setting, and they did."
Virginia led 13-6 at halftime, but Tech scored three touchdowns in the 3rd quarter to take a 27-20 lead.
UVa answered with a one-yard Wayne Taulapapa TD run early in the 4th to tie the game.
After the teams traded field goals, a Noah Taylor interception set up a 48-yard Brian Delaney field goal with 1:23 remaining in the game to put the 'Hoos in front 33-30.
On the Hokies next possession, UVa sacked quarterback Hendon Hooker twice, and then Mandy Alonso forced a fumble, and Eli Hanback recovered the ball in the endzone for a Virginia touchdown.
“This means the world to me,” says senior defensive tackle Eli Hanback. "The last time we beat Virginia Tech, I was seven years old. I’m twenty-three, now. To be on the team that broke the streak is the best feeling in the world.”
Junior defensive end Mandy Alonso says, "It was just an overwhelming feeling. There were so many emotions running through me. When I saw my parents, I started crying. It was just amazing that everybody could share this win with us. There were, I don’t know how many thousands of people there, and they got to experience this as well.”
Senior quarterback Bryce Perkins rushed for two touchdowns and a career-high 164-yards, and also completed 20-of-33 passes for 311 yards a score.
Perkins says, “This fifteen year drought, the people of Charlottesville, and all the fans, and all the players who have come through here, have experienced that loss, that emptiness for so long, and to come out here and do it, and to have and see all the players who have played here come back in the locker room, and enjoy that moment with us, it meant the world to us, and it meant the world to me.”
“It means a lot,” says senior wide receiver Hasise Dubois. "Not towards the streak, but it means a lot because one of our goals was to beat Tech, and one of our goals was to be ACC Coastal Champions, and we achieved both of those goals in one game. It’s a big deal.”
Virginia (9-3, 6-2 ACC) has won nine games during the regular season for the eighth time in program history, and they will play Clemson in the ACC Championship Game next Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina.
University of Virginia Athletics Media Release
• UVA finished 9-3 in the regular season, marking the eighth time the Cavaliers have had nine or more wins in the regular season (1985, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2019).
• Virginia is the 2019 ACC Coastal Division Champions, the first time in program history
• UVA is the first ACC Coastal team to be in first place from day one of the season and finish as division champions since Virginia Tech in 2005.
• UVA is now the seventh different team to be Coastal Champions in seven years.
• UVA scored on its first possession of the game for seventh time this season. The touchdown snapped nine-straight quarters the Virginia Tech defense had held its opponents scoreless.
• QB Bryce Perkins finished with 311 passing yards and 164 rushing yards. It is the third time this season and fifth time in his career he has accomplished this. His five games of 200 passing and 100 rushing yards is tied for the most in the nation since the start of the 2018 season. Caleb Evans of ULM also has five. Perkins has five of UVA’s six all-time such games by a quarterback.
• Perkins finished with 164 rushing yards, a career high and extended his program record for career 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback to seven.
• Perkins added two rushing touchdowns to extend his season mark to 11, passing Bob Davis (10, 1964) and Shawn Moore (10, 1988) for No. 2 all-time in UVA history with single-season rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
• Perkins 164 rushing yards ranks No. 3 all-time on UVA’s single-game rushing list by a quarterback.
• Perkins notched a career-long 67-yard rush in the first quarter for a touchdown.
• Perkins’ 164 rushing yards, long rush of 67 yards and two rushing touchdowns are all season highs allowed by the Hokies in 2019.
• With 21 kick return yards, WR Joe Reed became the 10th player in FBS history to pass 3,000 career kick return yards. He is the only player in FBS history to have 3,000+ yards and a career return average of 28+ yards.
• WR Billy Kemp IV notched his first career touchdown reception in the third quarter to tie the game, 20-20. The reception came on a 25-yard scoring strike from Perkins.
• OLB Noah Taylor recorded the first interception of his career on the final play of the first half.
• TB Wayne Taulapapa rushed for one touchdown, extending his season total to 13. It is the most rushing touchdowns by a UVA running back since Keith Payne notched 14 in 2010.
• WR Hasise Dubois finished with 139 receiving yards, marking the second 100-yard receiving game of his season (and career).
• Dubois notched a career-long 67-yard reception in the fourth quarter.