In a game that featured 1,062 combined yards, the Virginia Cavaliers prevailed over the Boston College Eagles, 43-32 on Senior Day at Scott Stadium.
Bronco Mendenhall’s first full recruiting class was honored at the beginning of the game, as the Hoos looked to get back over .500. Meanwhile, Boston College was without starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec and running back David Bailey.
After starting on the 50 yard line, UVA made it to the red zone on their first possession, but had to settle for a Brian Delaney field goal after BC got two straight sacks. Boston College responded with a 45 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dennis Grosel to Zay Flowers to go up 7-3. BC’s receivers outplayed UVA’s secondary throughout the game and Dennis Grosel had 520 passing yards, tying Doug Flutie for the most passing yards in a Boston College uniform.
Following the touchdown, UVA’s Shane Simpson sprinted for a 73 yard kick return. In a touching tribute, Simpson decided to wear #11 for his fellow senior Charles Snowden, who suffered a season ending injury in the previous game. After the impressive return, Brian Delaney kicked another field goal for the Hoos, making it 7-6 in favor of the Eagles at the end of the first quarter.
A few minutes into the second quarter, Dennis Grosel tried to complete an off balance pass while in the red zone, but it ended up as an interception for UVA’s DeVante Cross. Despite the 520 yards Grosel amassed, he also threw 3 interceptions, and all 3 occurred deep in UVA territory.
UVA completed a dominant drive with 8 plays for 95 yards in just 3:29, capped by a 47 yard touchdown catch from quarterback Brennan Armstrong to Ra’Shaun Henry. At the time, this was Henry’s 4th catch of the year and 4th touchdown as well, but the streak of all of his catches resulting in touchdowns would end this game as he had 2 more receptions for 95 yards total in a standout performance.
The Hoos defense forced a 3 and out for the Eagles, and then UVA scored a second straight touchdown in just three plays: a 23 yard pass to Tony Poljan, a 29 yard pass to Ra’Shaun Henry, and a 10 yard run for Keytaon Thompson for the touchdown to make it 20-7 UVA.
Although it seemed like UVA had the momentum, Boston College wasn’t fazed. Hunter Long, the ACC leader in receptions for a tight end, caught a wide open 36 yard touchdown pass. As the half came to a close, BC’s Jahmin Muse intercepted a Brennan Armstrong pass and Grosel drove 42 yards in just 27 seconds to end the half with an Aaron Boumerhi field goal to cut it to 20-17 UVA at the half.
UVA punted on their first drive of the second half, but then Nick Grant came up with the clutch interception for the Hoos in the end zone, fighting with Zay Flowers for possession as they fell to the ground. A few plays later, Brennan Armstrong broke out with a 60 yard touchdown run to put his team up 27-17. After a slow start early in the season, Armstrong really settled into his role. He finished the day with 287 passing yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception to go along with 130 rushing yards as the leading rusher for his team. Later in the quarter, Brian Delaney added a 28 yard field goal to make it 30-17.
The Boston College offense was quiet for most of the second half, with no points until 6:25 left in the 4th quarter, but that didn’t mean there weren’t some impressive plays. Zae Flowers had a 50 yard catch in the 3rd quarter and finished with 180 total yards. Boston College had six receivers with more than 50 receiving yards in the game.
In the fourth quarter, Wayne Taulapapa ran for a 1 yard touchdown after Lavel Davis Jr landed just short of the end zone on a long reception. He was removed from the game after a targeting call on Boston College and didn’t return. The Hoos attempted a two point conversion to make it a three score game, but the failed try kept the score at 36-17.
The UVA defensive line was incredible in this game, and Boston College ended up with negative seven rushing yards, drastically different from their 520 yards by air. One possession featured a forced fumble by UVA’s Matt Gahm that was recovered by BC for a loss, and then Mandy Alonso followed that up with a sack on 3rd and 20.
The BC offense came alive again when Dennis Grosel found CJ Lewis for 19 yards, Travis Levy for 21 yards, and Jehlani Galloway for 14 yards on a 4th and 12. Finally, the quarterback connected with his trusted receiver Zay Flowers for an 18 yard TD, and then again for the two point conversion to bring the score to 36-25 UVA.
Boston College was aiming to mount a comeback, but UVA’s Keytaon Thompson had other ideas. The backup quarterback often comes in for running plays, and he found a huge hole for a 43 yard touchdown run with 4:32 remaining to seal the game. The offensive line was lights out for the Hoos, helping them run for 262 total yards.
On the next drive for Boston College, D’Angelo Amos intercepted a pass to give Virginia its third forced turnover in the red zone. Before the game, UVA was 4-0 when winning the turnover battle and 0-4 when losing the turnover battle, and this streak continued since the Hoos only turned the ball over once on the day.
In the final minutes, Jehlani Galloway had a 26 yard reception and then a ten yard touchdown catch to bring the score to 43-32. A failed onside kick attempt gave UVA the ball with two minutes remaining, so that was the final score.
In a game of offensive extremes, Virginia’s defense stifled the running game and came up with three interceptions, despite allowing Boston College receivers to outrun them on many occasions. On the other end of the football, the Hoos had a more balanced attack of passing and running plays, and used 4 rushing touchdowns as the difference maker.
In what could be UVA’s final regular season game, the Cavaliers will face rival Virginia Tech in the Commonwealth Clash on December 12th at 8pm.
Written by Kathleen Boyce
Produced by Matt Newton
Select footage courtesy of the ACC Network and Virginia Sports TV