’We had higher expectations, and we came to win the game’ -- Bronco Mendenhall

’We had higher expectations, and we came to win the game’ -- Bronco Mendenhall
UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall watches his team at practice. (Source: UVA Athletics)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - It its first road game of the season, the Virginia football team came up short, falling 41-23 against top-ranked Clemson on Saturday night.

The game was a rematch of last year’s ACC Championship game.

The Wahoos say they could see improvement, but they were looking for more.

“The #1 team in the country, they’re going to put up points," says senior linebacker Zane Zandier. "They made 5-to-6 more plays than we made.  I thought we hung with them.  I thought we’re capable of beating a team like that.  I’m very confident that we are.  Coming out of it, we don’t want any moral victories.  We lost the game, and it sucks.”

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall says, “We had higher expectations, and we came to win the game.  We didn’t come just for benchmarks, and we didn’t come just to be better than what we were.  However, statistically, it was a balanced game.”

The difference in total offense was less than 50 yards (466-417), and Virginia out-gained the Tigers on the ground, 147-to-137.

Junior running back Wayne Taulapapa says, “The o-line worked hard.  Brennan worked hard this week.  We all worked hard to establish a ground game, and hopefully we can continue to do that with other teams.”

Senior offensive lineman Chris Glaser adds, “When you have a good running game, it loosens up Brennan, and gives him time to throw the ball.  We’re trying to be the best we can be, and give Brennan all the time he needs.”

UVA quarterback Brennan Armstrong was the leading rusher in the game, with 89-yards on 22 carries.

He also passed for 270-yards and three touchdowns under the bright lights of Death Valley.

“Yeah, it didn’t faze him," says Mendenhall. "Brennan is tough, mentally, and physically.  The stage wasn’t too big.  The team wasn’t too good.  I was really pleased with his mindset, his execution, his effort, and his leadership.  He did a nice job.”

Virginia will be back at home next weekend, as they host NC State on Saturday at noon.

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