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Virginia Makes First Visit to Notre Dame
• The Virginia Cavaliers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish meet Saturday for a nationally televised non-conference tilt on NBC.
UVA vs. Notre Dame/FBS Independents
• Virginia and Notre Dame are meeting for the third time in series history and for the first time at historic Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish hold a 2-0 advantage in the series, including a narrow 34-27 win at Scott Stadium in 2015 as the game-winning touchdown for Notre Dame was scored with 12 seconds left. UVA and Notre Dame first met at the Old Meadowlands to open the 1989 season in the Kickoff Classic.
• Against current FBS Independent teams UVA has a 7-9 all-time record. Of the five games against BYU, only the 2013 and 2014 meetings were against an Independent BYU team, which coincidentally was coached by current UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
Five Top Storylines
• Notre Dame is ranked No. 10 this week in the Associated Press poll. No ACC team has ever beaten a ranked Notre Dame squad at historic Notre Dame Stadium. The ACC is 0-20 all-time in such games. With UVA ranked No. 18 by the AP, Saturday is only the fourth time ever a ranked ACC team plays a ranked Notre Dame team in South Bend.
• Virginia will be playing in the state of Indiana for the fourth time in program history, which includes two meetings at Indiana in Bloomington (2011 & 2018). UVA’s first game in the state of Indiana came on Sept. 21, 1968 at No. 1 Purdue, which resulted in a 44-6 loss.
• Saturday’s game serves as UVA’s 10th all-time contest against a school from the state of Indiana. The Cavaliers own a 3-6 record against the state: Ball State (0-1), Indiana (2-2), Purdue (1-1) and Notre Dame (0-2).
• ILB Jordan Mack leads the nation’s linebackers with 5.0 sacks (No. 6 overall). He has at least 0.5 sacks in six-straight games dating back to the 2018 Virginia Tech game. He has 7.0 sacks during his current streak. Mack is one of two active FBS players (only linebacker) to have an active streak of six games with at least 0.5 sacks. Ohio State’s defensive lineman Chase Young also has a six-game streak with a total of 11.0 sacks over OSU’s last six games.
• UVA’s defense leads the nation with 20 sacks, sharing the top spot with Florida. UVA’s linebacking corps alone has 14 sacks which, not counting UVA, is more than the overall totals of all but four FBS teams thus far.
The Corrigan Connection
• Virginia and Notre Dame are uniquely connected through Gene Corrigan.
• Corrigan served as the Director of Athletics at both Virginia (1971-81) and Notre Dame (1981-87) before becoming the commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference (1987-97).
• Corrigan, a former Duke lacrosse player, was the head coach for UVA men’s lacrosse (1959-67) and men’s soccer (1958-65).
• As the commissioner at the ACC, Corrigan brought Florida State into the league.
• Corrigan’s son, Kevin, is a UVA alum and the current men’s lacrosse head coach at Notre Dame.
• As the Athletics Director of UVA he hired his niece, Debbie Ryan, as the women’s basketball coach of the Cavaliers in 1977. Ryan went on to a Hall of Fame career in Charlottesville and won 739 career games. Ryan retired from coaching in 2011.
• Corrigan resides in the Charlottesville area.
Future Games With Notre Dame
• Because of Notre Dame’s scheduling agreement with the ACC, UVA and the Irish are slated to meet six more times between 2021 and 2035.
• After Saturday’s game, UVA and Notre Dame will meet again in Notre Dame Stadium on Nov. 16, 2024, as well as in 2026 and 2034. UVA will host the Fighting Irish at Scott Stadium on Nov. 13, 2021, as well as in 2031 and 2035.
Notre Dame and the Commonwealth
• The last meeting between UVA and Notre Dame in 2015 served as the Fighting Irish’s first football game played in their storied history in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Mendenhall vs. Notre Dame
• UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall is facing Notre Dame for the fourth time as a head coach, but the first while at UVA. Mendenhall previously made trips to Notre Dame Stadium with his BYU team in 2005, 2012 and 2013. Mendenhall is 0-3 all-time against Notre Dame.
• Mendenhall and Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly faced off in 2012 and 2013, while the 2005 meeting was against Charlie Weis in Bronco’s first season as the head coach at BYU.
Mendenhall and National Championship Programs
• A win over Notre Dame will give UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall at least one career victory over 13-different FBS programs that have won at least one football national championship.
• Mendenhall owns victories over the following FBS programs that boast at least one football national championship: Cal, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, TCU, Texas, UCLA and Washington.
• Mendenhall coached 11 seasons and won 99 games at BYU, another program that owns a college football national title (1984).
Virginia – Notre Dame Connections
• UVA running back Wayne Taulapapa and Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman both hail from Laie, Hawaii on the Island of Oahu. Taulapapa and Gilman grew up as friends, but didn’t get to play football together in high school. Gilman attended the local school, Kahuku High School, while Taulapapa traveled into Honolulu to attend the Punahou School, a private college preparatory school.
• Taulapapa and Gilman met only once in high school on the football field and it was in the 2014 Hawaii state tournament semifinal round. Taulapapa’s Punahou Buffanblu topped Gilman’s Kahuku Red Raiders, 13-10, at Aloha Stadium. It was Gilman’s last high school game. Taulapapa rushed eight times for 25 yards and caught five passes for 31 yards in the game. Gilman caught two passes for 22 yards in the losing effort.
• Notre Dame wide receiver coach Del Alexander spent five season at Arizona State working as the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach in 2015 when current UVA QB Bryce Perkins and WR Terrell Chatman were freshmen. Alexander also was the tight ends coach at ASU in 2016 before coming ot Notre Dame in 2017. Current UVA director of football development and performance Shawn Griswold was also at ASU during this time as the head coach for sports performance.
• Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chip Long was the recruiting coordinator at Arizona State when the Sun Devils signed Perkins and Chatman. Long served in that role from 2012-15, along with being the tight ends coach.
• UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall went 1-1 against Brian Polian, Notre Dame’s special teams and recruiting coordinator, at each coach’s previous stop. Mendenhall was the head coach at BYU and Polian was the head coach at Nevada.
• Notre Dame’s director of football performance, Matt Balis, was the head football strength and conditioning coach at Virginia from 2007-08.
• Virginia assistant AD for media relations Jim Daves worked in Notre Dame’s sports information office from 1986-92, and has a ring from the Irish’s national championship season in 1988. Daves was in the press box in East Rutherford, N.J., working for Notre Dame when these teams met in 1989. He was already in his current position at UVA when Notre Dame came to Scott Stadium in 2015.
Virginia Moves Up in the Rankings
• Virginia comes in this week at No. 18 in the Associated Press poll. It is the fourth week under Bronco Mendenhall the Cavaliers have been ranked by the AP and the third week this season. UVA was ranked No. 25 on Sept. 8 and No. 21 last week. Last year UVA came in at No. 23 during week No. 10 of the season.
• It is the first time since 2005 that UVA has been ranked by the Associated Press in the month of September.
• It is UVA’s highest AP ranking since 2007 when the Cavaliers entered their matchup with then-No. 8 Virginia Tech at No. 16.
• UVA also moved up to No. 18 in the USA Today Coaches Poll this week after cracking it for the first time last week at No. 22.
Ranked Cavaliers Face Ranked Fighting Irish
• Virginia, ranked No. 18, is playing at No. 10 Notre Dame. The Cavaliers are looking for their first win as a ranked team over a ranked team since 1998 when then-No. 16 UVA won at then-No. 20 Virginia Tech (36-32).
• The last time a ranked UVA team defeated a higher ranked opponent was in 1996 when the then-No. 24 Cavaliers beat then-No. 6 North Carolina, 20-17, at Scott Stadium.
• The last time a ranked UVA team defeated a higher ranked opponent on the road was in 1994 when the then-No. 16 Cavaliers won at then-No. 14 Virginia Tech, 42-23.
• UVA has never beat a Top-10 team on the road. The Cavaliers are 0-24 in road games at a Top-10 opponent, which includes an 0-8 mark against Florida State.
• UVA’s last road win over an AP Top-25 team was a 14-13 triumph in 2011 at then-No. 23 Florida State.
Cavaliers Have Been A Strong Second Half Team
• Virginia is currently outscoring its opponents 76-24 in the second half, including shutting out both Pitt and Old Dominion in the third and fourth quarters.
• UVA yielded only 46 yards of total offense to Old Dominion in the second half.
• For the season, UVA has yielded an average of 104.5 yards of total offense in the second half. The UVA offense is averaging nearly twice that in the second half (200.5).
Virginia Opens Season 4-0 for the first time since 2004
• Virginia is 4-0 to start a season for the first time since 2004 when the Cavaliers started 5-0.
• The 4-0 start marks the 12th time since the start of World War II the Cavaliers have started a season with at least four wins in a row.
• Between 1901 and 1925 UVA started nine seasons with at least a 4-0 record.
• UVA’s best start to a season is 7-0, which has happened three times in program history: 1990, 1949 and 1945. The 1990 team catapulted to No. 1 in the nation that season.
“ZZ STOP” Helps Lead the Way For UVA’s Top-20 Defense
• ILB Zane Zandier currently is tied for the team lead with 29 tackles as UVA is ranked No. 14 in the nation (No. 2 in the ACC) in total defense, allowing an average of 263.8 yards per game.
• Of Zandier’s 29 tackles, 13 stops are at or behind the line of scrimmage. That is tied for No. 2 in all of FBS with WKU’s DeAngelo Malone, trailing only Illinois’ Oluwole Betiku. Wake Forest’s Justin Strnad trails Zandier’s ACC lead by one.
• Zandier intercepted his first career pass in the third quarter and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown. It is the second UVA interception by a linebacker this season (Matt Gahm at Pitt).
• Zandier’s INT is the first pick-six by a UVA linebacker since Byron Thweatt returned an interception 53 yards against Virginia Tech in 1998.
• UVA is No. 12 in the nation (No. 2 in the ACC) in rushing defense, allowing 75.0 rushing yards per game. The Cavaliers are also tied (Florida) for No. 1 in the nation with 20 sacks and No. 5 in the nation (No. 1 in the ACC) in tackles for loss per game (9.8).
Virginia Defense Capturing the Sack
• The Virginia defense has 20 sacks through the first four games of the season, making the Cavaliers one of six schools in all of FBS since 2000 to reach 20+ sacks through the first four games of a season. This year’s Florida squad joins the Cavaliers on the list as both teams share the nation’s lead for sacks.
• Since 2000, Florida State (2005), Louisville (2005) and Michigan State (2007) also had 20 sacks after four games, while Nebraska (2005) had 26 sacks after four games.