CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia football team forced seven turnovers, and rallied to beat Duke 38-20 in its season opener on Saturday at Scott Stadium.
The Blue Devils were the fifth-different team UVA had on its schedule to start the season, and the first four were either canceled or postponed.
“What a journey it has been, just to get to a point where we can play football,” says head coach Bronco Mendenhall. "It was a pretty surreal experience. There were many times throughout the game, where I couldn’t believe we were playing, and that it counted, and that it was for real.”
The Cavaliers had five interceptions in the game, with four of them coming in the second half.
Senior safety Brenton Nelson had two picks in the third quarter, while Nick Grant, D’Angelo Amos, and Joey Blount each added an INT.
Sophomore quarterback Brennan Armstrong completed 24-of-45 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start.
Both touchdowns went to 6-foot-7 freshman wide receiver Lavel Davis Jr., who had four receptions and a game-high 101 yards in his collegiate debut.
Junior running back Wayne Taulapapa carried the ball 16 times for a career-high 95 yards and two scores.
Armstrong also found the endzone on the ground, while picking up 47 yards on ten carries.
“Performance-wise, there’s a lot to learn,” says Armstrong. "I needed to be more consistent, but I think that’s going to come, as time goes. Overall, I’m just happy to get out there with the guys. We finally get to play.”
Senior wide receiver Terrell Jana says, "Man, that was really fun. It was a long 12 weeks waiting for this. I’m super happy for the guys, that we got the ‘W.’ We have a lot of different pieces in this offense right now, so it was good to see all the pieces coming together, and coming to fruition, especially the second half. Putting up 38 points, that’s really good for a first game.”
The only fans allowed at Saturday’s game were family of the players and coaches, and everyone was instructed to wear a mask at all times.
Virginia (1-0, 1-0 ACC) returns to action next Saturday at 8pm at No. 1 Clemson.