On Saturday night (11/13) the University of Virginia football team lost 28-3 against Notre Dame at home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Attendance at Scott Stadium was a season-high 48,584 persons, which created an electric atmosphere for the opening kickoff at 7:30 pm. Unfortunately for the Hoos, the game went mostly downhill, and according to plan for Notre Dame, from thereon out. A winning team does not make excuses, but it is important to recognize last night’s absence of Heisman contender, and Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who missed the contest due to a lingering rib injury suffered two weeks ago in Virginia’s 66-49 loss against BYU. Saturday night’s game seemed to quickly get out of hand for Virginia as Notre Dame’s executed a balanced offensive attack throughout the game, while the Hoos struggled to keep their offense on the field.
Freshman quarterback Jay Woolfolk had the tall task of replacing Armstrong on Saturday night, but it quickly became apparent how different the offense would look without the Hoos’ star QB. The Cavaliers’ first four drives were as follows; three-and-out, three-and-out, turnover on downs, and an interception by Woolfolk on a tough throw into double coverage. Conversely, quarterback Jack Cohen and the Notre Dame offense diced up the Virginia defense during the first half, scoring three consecutive touchdown’s following a turnover-on-downs to open the game, with the third coming via a highlight, 22-yard run from RB Kyren Williams (14 CAR, 70 Yds, 1 TD). Notre Dame took a 21-0 lead into halftime.
The second half was quite uneventful, with both teams struggling to produce offensively. The Hoos opened with a 44-yard missed field goal but got the ball right back after Coan threw his only interception of the game. The Virginia offense continued to struggle throughout the third quarter, with another punt following the interception, followed by a turnover-on-downs a drive later, before the Irish offense found the endzone once again on Coan’s third touchdown pass of the day, a 15-yard pass to receiver Kevin Austin Jr. Virginia finally got on the board with 12 minutes to go in the 4th quarter after a 34-yard field goal by Brendan Farrell, making the score 28-3. This score held to be the final for the game, with Woolfolk’s second interception of the day, picked off in the endzone by cornerback DJ Brown, sealing the deal.
This was a disappointing game for the Hoos, with many fans left thinking what if Brennan Armstrong had played. Of course, “what ifs” are not important in college football, or any sport, and Notre Dame (9-1, now ranked #7 in the National AP poll) picked up a big win over the Hoos Saturday night, dominating on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Woolfolk (18/33, 196 Yds, 2INT / 16 CAR, 15 Yds) and the Virginia offense couldn’t answer the poised attack from Coan (15/20, 132 Yds, 3TD, INT) and the Fighting Irish offense. On the other side of the ball, the Irish defense sacked Woolfolk seven times on the night, while the Virginia defense didn’t sack Coan once. Overall, Notre Dame proved to be the stronger team in all aspects of the game, and Armstrong’s absence was felt throughout the night for the Hoos. Notre Dame looks to continue to make a playoff push when they host Georgia Tech next weekend, while Virginia (6-4, 4-2) will look to snap its two-game losing streak on the road against #25 Pittsburgh.