CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Fans at Notre Dame Stadium rushed the field on Saturday night, as the 4th ranked Fighting Irish knocked off #1 Clemson 47-40 in double overtime.
The victory was the program’s first over a top-ranked team since 1993, and many of the announced crowd of 11,011 fans ended up at midfield in celebration.
It’s a situation which can’t happen at Scott Stadium this year, due to COVID-19.
UVA is only allowing family of the players and coaches to attend games, and the crowd is capped at one-thousand fans.
By comparison, the Cavaliers played in front of more than 18,735 fans when they took on Clemson earlier this season.
Without the fans in the stands at their homefield, the Wahoos count on the 4th Side to bring the energy to the game.
“I think I’ve just accepted the fact that I feed off that," says UVA senior linebacker Charles Snowden. "I think at the beginning of the year, I tried to be like, ‘Oh, I love football. I don’t need a crowd, I just love football.’ Just acknowledging that, yeah, I do need that, and so finding that energy source elsewhere. Whether it’s from my 4th Side teammates, within myself, or the guys on the field, just finding energy and motivation wherever I can.”
Sophomore defensive tackle Jowon Briggs says, "Luckily, coach Mendenhall emphasizes the 4th Side. Honestly, the 4th Side includes our sideline, and the fans, but really, I’m only focused on our sideline. They’re bringing that energy. It’s pretty loud in the stadium, regardless, if the fans are there, or not. So either way, you’ll be clued into the game.”
Virginia did not have a game this weekend.
It was postponed after a COVID-19 outbreak in the Louisville football program.
UVA upset previously 15th ranked North Carolina 44-41 in its last game.
The victory improved the Cavaliers' record to 2-4 overall.
There are no bowl eligibility requirements this year, with some uncertainty on how many games will be actually be played.
But that doesn’t mean everyone is going bowling, as there are only 39 bowl games available.
The Wahoos have five games left in the regular season, and they are only concentrating on one of them.
“We’re focused on the next opponent," says Briggs. "Completely invested in the next opponent. That’s where all our focus is right now. Some people would look further down, and say, ‘We might be bowl eligible, we might do this, this, and that.’ But coach does a real good job of putting the shutters on, and making us focus on Louisville, and focus on whomever else we play after that.”
Virginia is scheduled to host Louisville next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Scott Stadium.