Cavaliers Celebrate Belk Bowl; Look to Next Season
The Virginia football team enters the offseason on a winning note for the first time in thirteen years, and the Cavaliers will have a lot of starters returning in 2019, including cornerback Bryce Hall.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia football team enters the offseason on a winning note for the first time in thirteen years, following Saturday's 28-0 shutout of SEC opponent South Carolina in the Belk Bowl.
The last time UVa won its last game of the season was in the Music City Bowl in 2005.
The Wahoos made up for lost time with the celebration in Charlotte, before turning their attention to next year.
Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall enjoyed the game plan for beating South Carolina so much, he held on to his play sheet during the entire postgame Belk Bowl celebration.
"Just tenacious planning," says Mendenhall. "We've been working really hard."
The Cavaliers' mantra since Mendenhall took over the team three years ago is, 'Earned, Not Given.'
"All this is earned! All this is earned!" says freshman wide receiver Ugo Obasi.
Sophomore linebacker Jordan Mack says, "Just knowing how much we prepared, and how much we put in, the film, the practice reps, all that, coming into now just feels amazing."
"We came all this way," adds sophomore safety Joey Blount. "We proved so many people wrong. To go out with a 'W' means a lot to the program, and puts us somewhere that we can put ourselves further in the future."
The Wahoos will have both their Bryce's back next season.
"Yeah man, I got an announcement: I'm coming back!" quarterback Bryce Perkins said, with a laugh. "Nah, I'm playing. It's Bryce Hall really, Bryce Hall made the big announcement that he was coming back. I'm definitely excited to have him back for one last year, and we can cap this thing off right."
Hall is returning to the Cavaliers for his senior season, despite the opportunity to be a first round pick in this year's NFL Draft.
"The league is always going to be there, so I'm not concerned about that," says Hall. "I'm more focused on how can I give and share everything that this program has given me. These coaches, this culture, and help build and leave it in a better place than when I started."
Virginia has eight starters returning on defense next season, and seven on offense, and the expectations will be higher in the ACC.
Mendenhall says, "Yeah, maybe we won't be picked last (in the preseason poll)."
Virginia's eight wins overall was tied for the most in the ACC Coastal Division this year.