CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia football team ended its four-game losing streak on Saturday night, as the Cavaliers upset #15 North Carolina 44-41 at Scott Stadium.
The Tar Heels are the highest-ranked team the 'Hoos have beaten in nearly a decade (#12 Georgia Tech, 2011), and UVA needed a total-team effort to get the win.
The biggest decision of the game, came with 2:02 remaining in the 4th quarter.
Leading by three, and facing 4th & 3 near midfield, Bronco Mendenhall had his team execute a fake punt, rather than give the ball back to the electric Carolina offense.
The play worked.
Mendenhall says, “It’s my call, because if you don’t get that, they’re in great field position, and that’s a game-winner, or probably a game-loser. I trust the fake. I’ve seen it work in practice, and I loved who was doing it, in KT (Keytaon Thompson).”
Thompson rushed 10 times for 43 yards and a touchdown.
UVA ran the ball 51 times in the game, including thirteen times on a 15-play drive in the fourth quarter.
The nine-minute drive kept the ball away from the Tar Heels, and produced what turned out to be the game-winning field goal.
Junior running back Wayne Taulapapa says, "Their offense is explosive. We were in the goal to try and score, but definitely push the clock a little bit with certain runs. We just tried to take up as much time as we could.”
“We were eating clock," says quarterback Brennan Armstrong. "We took up a huge chunk of that fourth quarter. Not the result we wanted. We thought we could punch it in there, and seal the deal, but something like that, you gain confidence.”
The sophomore completed 12-of-22 passes for 208 yards and three TD’s in the game.
He also carried the ball 20 times for 66-yards and another score.
“So proud of Brennan," says Mendenhall. "I thought he played an amazing game, and that’s just the beginning. He has such an amazing future, in running, and throwing, and leading, and he’s so competitive.”
Charles Snowden filled up the stat sheet against the Tar Heels, with ten tackles, four tackles for a loss, a forced fumble, and four sacks.
The senior linebacker is the first Cavalier player to have that many sacks since Jamie Sharper in 1996.
Sophomore linebacker Nick Jackson says, “Charles Snowden is an electric player. He’s got ‘Havoc’ written all over him. When you see #11 on the field, it’s really comforting, because he’s a playmaker, and he’s making plays all night long.”
Snowden says, “I had gotten off to a slow start this year, and now to finally be producing, and make plays, it feels great, and sacks always are a great thing.”
Virginia will be back in action at home against Louisville next Saturday.
Kickoff is set for eight o’clock.