Following Saturday evening’s shenanigans, Virginia Cavaliers sealed their status as bowl eligible for the first time since 2011. For those of you who were there – what a game, right?! For those of you not fortunate enough to have experienced it, here is the rundown of how UVa fought back against a resilient Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets outfit (see what I did there?) in order to clinch it’s return to a bowl game…
A Slippery Start
First of all, no, this was not a water polo game, although the weather was atrocious…In somewhat English-like weather (trust me, I would know), UVa endured a difficult first half, which saw the ‘Hoos trail by 14-13 at the break. Thus far the only real source of excitement had been Joe Reed’s 92 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Somehow the sophomore wideout managed to switch up the field and make a play out of nothing to provide something to cheer about! This was exactly the psychological stimulus the entire stadium needed to take into the second half.
Despite being down two possessions early in the third quarter – a gritty performance lead by NFL draft prospect quarterback Kurt Benkert – saw UVa score twenty unanswered points from the start of the third quarter until Ricky Jeune’s 33 yard touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter, allowing the ‘Yellow jackets’ (the only yellow jackets they’ll ever be wearing) to retake the lead. For most college teams, this would be game over. But as the rain grew heavier, so did this team’s determination to close out this game, with Benkert throwing a 27 yard touchdown to Andre Levrone with 1:22 remaining. This winning drive re-established UVa as a bowl-eligible team, silencing their numerous critics prior to the season who claimed that this would be another difficult year. On the contrary, Virginia is relevant again and we now have a bowl game to look forward to!
What we can expect for the rest of the season
The main takeaway from this weekend is that we’re going to a bowl! But how about the rest of the season? Should we expect more wins? Maybe.
I hate to be pessimistic, but the football schedule is about to get tougher. UVa two of it’s most formidable conference rivals in the upcoming weeks: the undefeated Miami Hurricanes and 7-2 Virginia Tech. The former being ranked 6th overall in the country, the ‘Hoos will try to break their 13 game winning streak at Miami on November 18th. The latter boasts one of the best defences in the country and will pull out all stops to stop Benkert’s record setting season for UVa.
Beforehand, UVa travels to Louisville this weekend to face the Louisville Cardinals in another divisional match up. Let’s hope we can ‘eat that W’ as Jameis Winston would say…