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UVA looking to carry momentum into Illinois matchup

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 5:23 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - “It’s never hard to get up for gameday,” UVA sixth-year senior Nick Grant said. “Everybody is always ready for gameday.”

Grant says with kick-off scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, September 11, there shouldn’t be any struggles waking up early.

“We’re a morning practice team, and so really this fits our normal routine in terms of when we practice,” UVA Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “I’m hopeful this wouldn’t affect us much in terms of our normal routine.”

Not only is this upcoming weekend unique because of the morning kick-off, the game is being played on the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

“Whether you were alive or not, it’s always just a serious day,” Grant said. “Trying to give your respects to those who serve, those who might have had a loved one in the incident that occurred. It just feels like every year you play for something bigger than yourself.”

“So much during the season seems to be football first,” Mendenhall. “Everything else of significance seems to just take a backseat. I work hard and our program works hard to make sure there’s relative balance. Sometimes it takes a pretty significant event to have you just stop for a second and try to put things in priority again.”

Mendenhall says playing with energy on the field starts with the sideline.

“I actually grade the fourth side similar to how I do the game, and I’m paying attention to who’s really cheering for our team and who’s invested in them,” Mendenhall said. “We do the same with section 118 and for our players that aren’t dressing. I expect that section to be the catalyst and kind of the model of what the fourth side looks like.”

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