CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall says his team captains this season will be senior quarterback Bryce Perkins, senior cornerback Bryce Hall and senior linebacker Jordan Mack.

For the first time in 16 years the UVa football team will begin its season facing an ACC opponent.

"Right off the bat," says Bryce Hall.  "This is going for the conference and being in a position where we were so close. There's a heightened urgency to be ready.

The 'Hoos will play at Pittsburgh Saturday in the season opener.  The last time Virginia faced an ACC team in the opener was 2003 against Duke.

Virginia has lost four straight games to Pittsburgh including a 23-13 defeat in Charlottesville last season.  Pitt went on to win the ACC's Coastal division.

"We know what kind of game it's going to be," says Bryce Perkins.  "Last year they were hungrier than us. We got outphysicaled. We don't have time to start slow, we have to start fast, because this game is going to set the pace for the rest of the season."

Coach Mendenhall says sophomore Wayne Taulapapa, from Hawaii, will be Virginia's starting running back.

"Wayne is the most trustworthy to this point, has been the most versatile to this point and has had the most production,' says Mendenhall.  "There are others that are capable, there are others that will play."

Highly touted UVa defensive tackle Jowon Briggs, from Cincinnati, will start at nose tackle as a true freshman.

"He's strong, he's quick and he's smart" says Mendenhall.  "Nothing's been to fast for him and his teammates like him because he's humble and he's hard working."

Much of the focus will be on quarterback Bryce Perkins, who says he's been preparing hard for has second and final year with the 'Hoos.

"Now I know the point I need to reach and the point I need to exceed for me to improve," say Perkins.  "And for us to improve."

"I think we're going to rise to the challenge here," says UVa junior wide receiver Terrell Jana.  "I know the program has been in a building process here and I like where we are right now. I think the boys are ready to go and it's going to be a really good game."