UVA defense facing difficult task against SMU in Fenway Bowl

Joey Blount hugs Brennan Armstrong, after batting away a potential game-tying touchdown pass.
Joey Blount hugs Brennan Armstrong, after batting away a potential game-tying touchdown pass.(wvir)
Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 4:36 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Fenway Bowl in Boston will feature two of the best offenses in college football, as Virginia and SMU are both ranked in the Top 25 in the nation in Scoring Offense.

The Cavaliers average 34.6 points per game, while the Mustangs are slightly better at 38.4.

The chances of a defensive battle are...

“Not great, Bob.”

Out of 130 teams in the nation, UVA is 121st in Total Defense.

The Wahoos allow an average of 466 yards per game.

They are 103rd in Scoring Defense, giving up 31.83 points per contest.

Those are the numbers, despite the fact that Virginia had two shutouts this season, as they held both William & Mary and Duke scoreless.

During its current four-game losing streak, the Virginia defense is allowing more than 42 points per game.

SMU junior quarterback Tanner Mordecai was ninth in the nation in passing yards per game (302.33) this season.

He threw 39 touchdowns, which was the fourth-highest total in college football.

UVA senior linebacker Noah Taylor says, “I was very impressed by him. I think he would come into the ACC and start for a lot of teams. I think he’s really good. I’m really impressed by him.”

“They resemble a lot of Pitt,” adds senior cornerback Nick Grant. “They throw a lot. I think Pitt’s quarterback was better, but they’re a very effective offense.”

There is some good news for the Cavaliers’ ‘D’.

SMU wide receivers Reggie Roberson and Danny Gray have opted out of the bowl, after declaring for the NFL draft.

That duo combined for 100 catches this season, with over 14-hundred yards receiving, and 15 touchdowns.

The Mustangs will also be missing some coaches, as head coach Sonny Dykes has left for TCU, and he took a few of his assistants, including the offensive coordinator.

The Fenway Bowl will be Bronco Mendenhall’s last game with Virginia, before he officially hands the reigns over to Tony Elliott.

UVA and SMU are scheduled to kickoff at 11 AM on December 29th in Boston.

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