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UVA Hosts William & Mary in Home Opener
• The University of Virginia opens its 89th season of play at Scott Stadium when the William & Mary Tribe visit
Charlottesville on Friday night.
• UVA is 92-30-7 (.740) all-time in home openers.
• In his career as a head coach, Bronco Mendenhall is 9-5 in 14 home-openers, including 2-1 at UVA.
Virginia vs. William & Mary, CAA
• Virginia owns a 29-6-1 edge in the all-time series with William & Mary. UVA has won nine of the last 10 meetings, including a 28-10 win the last time these teams met in 2017.
• In games played in Charlottesville, Virginia has a 23-4 advantage.
• William & Mary’s last win in the series came in 2009, a 26-14 victory at Scott Stadium.
• The Cavaliers own a 60-10-3 record against current members of the CAA.
Five Top Storylines
• Virginia hosts former Cavalier head coach Mike London and his William & Mary Tribe football team. London was UVA’s 39th head coach over six seasons from 2010-15, notching a 27-46 record.
• Including London, eight members of the William & Mary coaching staff have playing or coaching ties to UVA. Former UVA football players include: Darryl Blackstock, Keenan Carter, Ras-I Dowling, Matt Johns, Gordon Sammis and Josh Zidenberg. Blackstock and Dowling went on to earn multiple All-ACC honors for the Cavaliers. W&M associate head coach/defensive coordinator Vincent Brown also served at UVA as an assistant coach on London’s staff from 2010-13.
• Virginia’s 30-14 win at Pitt in the season opener gave the Cavaliers a season-opening win the road for the first time since 2004 at Temple (44-14). The win also served as UVA’s first triumph at Pitt in six tries.
• Going back to the 2018 Belk Bowl, UVA has shutout its opponents in seven of the last eight quarters played. UVA shutout South Carolina (28-0) in the Belk Bowl and followed that up in the season opener at Pitt not allowing the Panthers to score in the first, third or fourth quarters.
• Dating back to 2000, UVA’s 78 rushing yards allowed at Pitt is the fewest the Cavaliers have given up to an FBS opponent in a season opener. Only three other opponents during that 20-year span, all FCS schools, were held to fewer rushing yards in a season opener (UR, 28, 2012; UR, 34, 2018; W&M, 48, 2011) than what the Cavaliers held the Panthers to last time out.
More on the William & Mary Series
• Current Cavaliers Dillon Reinkensmeyer, Reed Kellam, Jamari Peacock, Brenton Nelson, De’Vante Cross, Nick Grant, PK KIer, Joey Blount, Germane Crowell, Nash Griffin, Matt Gahm, Terrell Jana, Mandy Alonso, Brian Delaney and A.J. Mejia all made their collegiate debuts against the Tribe in 2017.
• Former UVA CB Maurice Canady’s 74-yard punt return for a touchdown in the 2015 William & Mary game is the fifth-longest punt return for a touchdown in school history.
• UVA held William & Mary to only 169 yards of total offense in the 2011 meeting, a 40-3 Cavalier win.
• University of Virginia founder Thomas Jefferson attended William & Mary from 1760-1762.
Virginia – W&M connections
• Seven members on Mike London’s William & Mary staff have a connection to the University of Virginia.
• London has six UVA graduates on staff, which includes: Darryl Blackstock, Ras-I Dowling, Keenan Carter, Matt Johns, Gordon Sammis and Josh Zidenberg.
• W&M associate head coach and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Vincent Brown was UVA’s linebacker coach from 2010-12 and defensive line coach in 2013.
• Brown (2007), Johns (2018), Sammis (2010-11) and Zidenberg (2009-10) also served as grad assistants at UVA.
• W&M offensive coordinator/QB coach Brennan Marion spent one season at Arizona State working offensive quality control in 2015 when current UVA QB Bryce Perkins and WR Terrell Chatman were freshmen. Current UVA director of football development and performance Shawn Griswold was also at ASU during this time as the head coach for sports performance.
UVA Wins Third Season Opener In A Row
• With its season-opening win at Pitt, UVA has won back-to-back-to-back season openers for the first time since winning four straight from 2010-13. UVA is 83-38-9 all-time in season openers.
• UVA defeated William & Mary to open the 2017 season and Richmond to start the 2018 campaign.
• With a win on Friday, UVA would be 2-0 to start a season for the first time since 2012.
True Freshman Starting on the Defensive Line
• Against Pitt, NT Jowon Briggs became the fifth UVA freshman (true or redshirt) since 1986 to start a season opener on the defensive line. Briggs is also the second in two seasons as teammate NT Jordan Redmond (also a true freshman) did so last year against Richmond. Briggs and Redmond are the first UVA freshmen to start a season opener on the defensive line since 2002 when DE Kwakou Robinson started against Colorado State. The other two UVA freshmen to start an opener on the defensive line are DE Matt Conrath (RS-Fr., 2008 vs. USC) and NT Tim O’Conner (RS-Fr., 1986 vs. South Carolina).
• Briggs was part of UVA’s run-stop game, helping limit Pitt to only 78 rushing yards on 30 carries (2.6 ypr).
• Briggs was 17-years old for the season-opener at Pitt, turning 18 on Sept. 1. The team sang him happy birthday on the return flight to Charlottesville after it was officially Sept. 1.
Eight Cavaliers Make Collegiate Debut in Season-opening Win
• UVA had eight collegiate debuts against Pitt. LS Enzo Anthony**, DT Jowon Briggs**, LS Lee Dudley, WR Dorien Goddard**, RB Mike Hollins**, ILB Nick Jackson**, C Olusegun Oluwatimi, WR Dontayvion Wicks**.
**-denotes true freshman
First Career Starts At Pitt
• TB Wayne Taulapapa, WR Terrell Chatman, C Olusegun Oluwatimi, NT Jowon Briggs, OLB Matt Gahm, CB Nick Grant all made their first collegiate starts at Pitt in the season opener.
Cavalier Defense Shuts Down Pitt’s Rushing Attack
• Virginia held Pitt to 78 rushing yards on 30 rushes, which was only 2.6 yards per rush.
• During UVA’s previous four-game losing streak to Pitt, the Panthers rushed for 780 yards on 166 carries and eight touchdowns. That comes to an average of 195 rushing yards on 41.5 carries (4.7 ypr) and a two-touchdown average during the UVA losing streak to Pitt. The Panthers rushed for 254 yards in the 2018 meeting and 209 yards in the 2016 meeting.
• UVA’s defense as a whole was stout in the season opener at Pitt. If you take away the two Pitt scoring drives, which yielded 165 yards of total offense on 21 plays, UVA’s defense held the Panthers to 98 yards of total offense on 50 plays (1.96).
Taulapapa Picks up the Tailback Mantle for the Cavaliers
• Sophomore running back Wayne Taulapapa, who lettered in 2018 on special teams, carried the ball for the first time in his collegiate career at Pitt in the season opener.
• Taulapapa, who made his first career start, rushed 10 times for 66 yards (6.6 ypr) and one touchdown as Virginia looks for a running back to replace 1,000-yard rusher Jordan Ellis from 2018.
• Taulapapa is a member of the 2016 recruiting class, but did not enroll until 2018 after serving a two-year LDS mission to Managua, Nicaragua.
• The native of Laie, Hawaii attended Punahou High School in Honolulu. Taulapapa’s roundtrip to high school each day was an average of 3.5 hours (1:45 one way) on the road.
Nash Griffin Shines in Punting Debut
• With the graduation of former All-ACC punter Lester Coleman, junior Nash Griffin made his punting debut in the season opener at Pitt. Griffin previously had appeared in 26 games from 2017-18 as UVA’s holder. Griffin continues his holding duties in 2019.
• Griffin punted four times against the Panthers and averaged 45.5 yards per punt. Three of his punts went inside the 20-yard line and his long punt went 49 yards.
• Griffin was high school basketball teammates at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, Ind., with Kyle Guy, the 2019 NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player from Virginia.
• Griffin was roommates for three years at UVA with Kyle Guy before he was drafted (and married) in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings.