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Aug. 29, 2006

Virginia Opens 2006 Campaign at Pittsburgh

Watch the Pitt Game at JPJA! Nate Lyles Video Profile

Virginia opens the 2006 season on the road Saturday evening against the University of Pittsburgh. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNU.

The Cavaliers have opened on the road three times in coach Al Groh’s six years at the helm. This is the second time in the last three seasons they have started their season in Pennsylvania. Two years ago they began with a 44-14 win over Temple in Philadelphia.

This is the first regular-season meeting in 51 years, but UVa downed Pittsburgh 23-16 in the 2003 Continental Tire Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers recorded an 18-7 win in 1955 the last time UVa traveled to Pittsburgh.

The roster has undergone significant changes following the graduation of a host of four-year contributors, including DE Brennan Schmidt who started a record 51 games and All-American T D’Brickashaw Ferguson who started a UVa offensive lineman 49 games. Other key losses include TB Wali Lundy, the ACC’s all-time touchdown leader, PK Connor Hughes, UVa’s all-time leading scorer, QB Marques Hagans, one of the most versatile players in program history, PK Kurt Smith, and three-year starter at right tackle, Brad Butler. Both inside linebackers–Ahmad Brooks and Kai Parham, left with a year of eligibility remaining.

The coaching staff also underwent a transformation as three assistant coaches on last year’s staff took head coaching jobs–DC/DB coach Al Golden at Temple, OC/OL coach Ron Prince at Kansas State and Assoc. HC/OLB coach Danny Rocco at Liberty. In addition, ILB/ST coach Mark D’Onofrio joined Golden’s staff at Temple.

Groh and his coaching staff welcomed 32 returning lettermen when training camp began on Aug. 4. The 32 returning lettermen represents the fewest in Groh’s six years at UVa since he had 31 returning lettermen in his second season in 2002.

Watch Party at John Paul Jones Arena for Saturday’s Game
Virginia fans have the opportunity to watch the ESPNU television broadcast of the Cavaliers’ game Saturday live at John Paul Jones Arena. The UVa athletics department is presenting a free watch party of the game televised by ESPNU utilizing the video boards and audio system in the new arena. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7:00 p.m.

Parking will be free for the event. UVa students will be admitted to the building at 5:30 p.m. with a valid student ID. The main lobby entrance opens at 6:00 p.m. to the general public.

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