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Cavaliers Head to the “Derby City”
• UVA returns to the road on Saturday when the Cavaliers face ACC cross-division rival, the Louisville Cardinals. It is UVA’s third trip to the “Derby City” since Louisville joined the ACC in 2014.
The Louisville Series
• Saturday marks the eighth time in series history the Cavaliers and Cardinals have met in football and the sixth time in ACC play.
• Louisville leads the all-time series, 4-3. UL also leads the series, 3-2, since Louisville joined the ACC in 2014. Except for 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson’s final minute heroics in 2016 at Scott Stadium, the home team has won every game in the series.
• The first five games of the series were won by a touchdown or less, including the first three on field goals in the closing minutes.
Five Top Storylines
• Virginia is playing its fifth all-time game in the city of
Louisville and fourth against the Cardinals. UVA first played in the “Derby City” 121 years ago against Vanderbilt. UVA won the 1898 meeting with the Commodores, 18-0.
• Virginia needs one win to become bowl-eligible for the third year in a row. It would mark the first time UVA was bowl-eligible in back-to-back-to-back seasons since going to four bowls in a row (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005). UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall is one of three active coaches that has inherited at least two programs in his career that were coming off a losing season and in year one, or year two, played in a bowl game. The others to do it are Nick Saban (Alabama, LSU, Michigan State) and Mark Dantonio (Michigan State/Cincinnati).
• ILB Jordan Mack is No. 1 in the ACC with 7.0 sacks (No. 11 in the nation) and is No. 3 among the nation’s linebackers.
• WR Joe Reed has 2,837 career kick return yards and is averaging 29.2 yards per kick return while in a UVA uniform. He is the only player in FBS history to have 2,700+ career kick return yards and a career average per kick return of 28+ yards.
• UVA’s defense is No. 5 in the nation with 28 sacks (4.0 per game). The Cavalier linebacking corps alone has 19.5 sacks (2.8 per game) which, is more than the overall totals of 100 other FBS teams thus far.
Cavaliers Making Their Fourth All-Time Trip to the “Derby CIty”
• Virginia is making its fifth all-time journey to Louisville, Ky., but only its fourth road game to play the Cardinals. UVA and the Cardinals also met in 1988 at the old Cardinal Stadium, and in 2015 and 2017 at the new Cardinal Stadium.
• The Cavaliers first played in the Commonwealth of Kentucky on Nov. 12, 1898 against Vanderbilt. UVA won, 18-0, against the Commodores.
• UVA’s first-ever game in the city of Louisville fell on the same weekend 121 years prior to this season’s meeting in Derby City with the Cardinals.
• With the help of the University of Louisville’s Archives and Special Collections, and the Nov. 13, 1898 edition of Louisville’s Courier-Journal, it was determined the game was played at Fontaine Ferry Park, which was slightly south of the terminus of Market Street near the Ohio River.
• Fontaine Ferry gets its name from a family of French Huguenot descents that settled in Louisville in the early 1800s and operated a ferry across the Ohio River. By 1898, under new ownership, the grounds housed a hotel, velodrome, outdoor restaurant, bandstand and grandstand for events like football. In the early 1900s, Fontaine Ferry became Louisville’s premier amusement park. In 1997 the $1.2 million Shawnee Park Sports Complex was built on the former Fontaine Ferry site.
• According to the Nov. 13, 1898 edition of Louisville’s Courier-Journal, the UVA football team attended “The Royal Box” at Macauley’s Theatre after the win over Vanderbilt. The theatre was located on Walnut Street, which is current day Muhammad Ali Boulevard. It was reported that the squad occupied three boxes and they filed in “to a ripple of applause” from the audience. According to Louisville’s Courier-Journal, each player wore a big yellow chrysanthemum and a “large streamer of orange and blue.”
More on the Louisville Series
• The two schools first met at Louisville in 1988, a 30-28 Cardinal win. Louisville kicker Ron Bell connected on a 39-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the game to give the Cardinals the triumph at Old Cardinal Stadium. UVA had led Louisville 28-14 after scoring on its opening drive of the second half, but Louisville scored 16 unanswered points to snatch the victory away from the Cavaliers.
• The tables were flipped when the series moved to Charlottesville in 1989. Jake McInerney kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired to lift UVA over Louisville, 16-15.
• McInerney’s kick is one of two field goals in UVA history to win a game with zeros on the clock. The most recent was in 2011 when Robert Randolph chipped a 23-yard game-winner at Indiana.
• Shawn Moore gave UVA a 13-9 lead with his 4-yard passing strike to Herman Moore in the closing seconds before halftime. Louisville used two fourth-quarter field goals to build a 15-13 lead before McInerney’s heroics.
• On UVA’s game-winning drive, Moore orchestrated the offense on a 10-play, 60-yard drive, to set up McInerney’s field goal. The drive included a 25-yard quarterback draw by Moore as the UVA signal caller accumulated for 40 yards during the drive with his own legs.
• PK Ian Frye’s 42-yard field goal with 1:24 left won the game for the Cavaliers in 2014. Frye’s field goal is the third-longest game-winning field goal in UVA program history.
UVA’s Yearly ACC Atlantic Division Foe
• The ACC said so long to Maryland when Louisville joined the league on July 1, 2014. Maryland had served as UVA’s annual Atlantic Division crossover opponent every season since the ACC created the division format in 2005.
• Louisville not only takes Maryland’s spot in the Atlantic Division, but also serves as UVA’s annual crossover opponent.
UVA vs. Teams From the Bluegrass State
• Virginia has played 11 games against teams from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
• UVA is 5-6 all-time against teams from the “Bluegrass State.”
• UVA played Centre College from Danville, Ky., at Lambeth Field in Charlottesville in 1919, a 49-7 loss.
• UVA played Kentucky in 1902, 1903 and 1930. The 1902 and 1930 games against the Wildcats were played in Lexington, Ky., while the 1903 meeting was in Charlottesville.
• Including the 1898 meeting in Louisville between UVA and Vanderbilt, UVA has played six all-time games in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Heisman Moment for Jackson at Scott
• When Louisville came to Scott Stadium in 2016, Lamar Jackson had a Heisman Trophy moment helping the Cardinals beat the Cavaliers, 32-25.
• With just over two minutes to play and No. 5 Louisville suddenly trailing Virginia 25-24, Lamar Jackson answered for the Cardinals. He engineered a 75-yard drive and capping it by floating a perfectly placed 29-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Smith with 13 seconds remaining as the Cardinals survived Virginia, 32-25.
• It was Jackson’s fourth touchdown pass and helped the Louisville quarterback capture the 2016 Heisman Trophy.
• Virginia had scored with 1:57 remaining and used a 2-point conversion to take a 25-24 lead, whipping the crowd at Scott Stadium into a frenzy.
• To date, it is the only time the visiting team in this series won the game.
Cavalier Defense is Stout on Third Down
• UVA’s opponents have only been successful 20.3 percent (15-74) of the time when faced with a 3rd-and-5 or longer against the Cavalier defense. When faced with 3rd-and-4 or closer they succeed 58.3 percent (14-of-24) of the time.
• UVA is No. 9 in the nation and No. 1 in the ACC in third down defense (29.6).
Virginia When it is Goal-to-Go
• Not counting the end of the William & Mary game when UVA was in “Victory Formation” – UVA is a perfect 16-of-16 on scoring opportunities when on offense and it is goal-to-go. UVA has scored 13 touchdowns and three field goals. Two of those field goals came in the loss at Miami.
Holding Opponents in Check when it comes to total Offense
• For the first time since 1995, UVA has started a season holding each of its first seven opponents under 400 yards of total offense. The 1995 team also held its first seven opponents under 400 yards of total offense. The last time UVA held its first eight opponents under 400 yards of total offense was 1969 when the Cavaliers held all 10 opponents under 400 yards of total offense.
• UVA has yielded 400+ yards of total offense in only two of its last 20 games dating back to the start of the 2018 season. Dating back to the start of the 2017 season, UVA has yielded 400+ yards of total offense to its opponents in six of its last 33 games.