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Virginia Makes Orange Bowl Debut
• Virginia returns to action in the 86th annual Orange Bowl against the Florida Gators.
• The Cavaliers are making their first appearance in the Orange Bowl and first appearance in a New Year’s Six game since format was adopted for the 2014 season.
• Virginia is playing its fourth all-time bowl game at Hard Rock Stadium. UVA played in the 1994 and 1996 Carquest Bowls when the venue was Joe Robbie Stadium. The Cavaliers also played in the 1999 MicronPC.com Bowl when the edifice was named Pro Player Stadium.
• UVA is playing in back-to-back-to-back bowls for the first time since appearing in four bowl games in a row from 2002-03-04-05.
Virginia vs. Florida
• Virginia and Florida are meeting for the second time in series history and for the first time since Oct. 3, 1959 when the Cavaliers visited old Florida Field. The then-No. 19 Gators won 55-10, leading the all-time series 1-0.
Five Top Storylines
• The 2019 Orange Bowl will serve as Virginia’s 21st all-time bowl appearance and its first postseason matchup with Florida. The Gators are the fifth-different SEC team UVA will face in a bowl game.
• Virginia is playing Florida in the same season it has already faced Florida State and Miami. Since the FCS/FBS split in 1978, UVA will be the fourth team to play the three perennial national championship programs from the state of Florida and the first since the 1984 Auburn squad. Louisville (1980) and ECU (1983) are the other programs.
• UVA is playing its 14th game of 2019, tying a program high for most in a season. The 2002 team that won the Continental Tire Bowl also played 14 games, finishing 9-5 after opening the year in the Jim Thorpe Classic.
• QB Bryce Perkins is one of two players in the nation, joining Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, to pass for 3,000+ yards and rush for 700+ yards so far this season. Perkins is No. 1 in the ACC and No. 7 in the nation with 3,960 yards of total offense, which has already broken his own single-season UVA record from 2018 (3,603).
• Perkins broke two UVA records in the ACC Championship game against No. 3 Clemson. He broke the UVA single-season passing record (3,215), previously owned by Kurt Benkert (2017, 3,207). Perkins also broke the UVA record for career rushing yards by a quarterback (1,668), previously held by Pro Football and College Football Hall of Famer “Bullet Bill” Dudley (1,631).
Mendenhall and National Championship Programs
• A win over Florida 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 at NFL Stadiums
• Virginia is 11-22 all-time in stadiums that at the time of the contest were active NFL stadiums.
• Seven of the 14 NFL stadiums UVA has played in are still active today.
• UVA is 1-9 all-time at Hard Rock Stadium, including 0-3 in bowl games. The lone win was a 28-21 triumph over Miami in 2011.
• UVA is 1-2 this season at NFL stadiums, winning at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field in the season opener, while losing at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium and against Clemson at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium in the ACC Championship game.
Virginia vs. The Southeastern Conference
• Virginia is facing a school from the Southeastern Conference in a bowl game for the seventh time and for the second year in a row since beating South Carolina 28-0 in the 2018 Belk Bowl.
• UVA is playing a team from the SEC in its bowl for the third time out of the Cavaliers’ last four bowl appearances.
• Since UVA played at South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium in 2003, UVA’s only meetings with SEC opponents came against Auburn in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl and South Carolina in the 2019 Belk Bowl.
• Virginia has played every school from the SEC’s Eastern Division (Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt).
• Auburn is the only school the Cavaliers have played from the Western Division. UVA has never faced Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State or Texas A&M.
• UVA’s 1973 meeting with Missouri came when the Tigers were in the Big Eight.
• The Cavaliers are 32-49-6 all-time against current SEC membership.
• UVA has sprung some surprises when on the road in SEC country over the years, including blanking Georgia “Between the Hedges” in 1979 and shocking a Neyland Stadium crowd of 94,333 with a 16-13 win over Tennessee in 1980. UVA also shutout Auburn, 19-0, in the 1998 opener at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Virginia Players Returning Home to Florida for the Bowl Game
• Sixteen Cavaliers call the Sunshine State of Florida home and will get to return for the Orange Bowl.
• Five Cavaliers hail from Miami or attended high school there. DE Mandy Alonso, WR Tavares Kelly Jr., S Brenton Nelson and LB D’Sean Perry all call Miami home. Alonso, Perry and DB Sean Moore all attended Gulliver Prep.
• LS Enzo Anthony (Port Charlotte), S Antonio Clary (Jacksonville), QB RJ Harvey (Orlando), RB Seneca Milledge (Fort Myers), FB Jamari Peacock (Yulee), NT Jordan Redmond (Kissimmee), OT Ryan Swoboda (Windermere), OL Zachary Teter (Lakeland), OG Martin Weisz (West Palm Beach), DB Major Williams (Fort Myers) and FB Andrew Yavinsky (West Palm Beach) also hail from the state of Florida.
UVA’s SEC Bowl Shutout
• UVA shutout South Carolina, 28-0, in the 2018 Belk Bowl.
• UVA’s shutout performance was the first in all of FBS over an SEC team in a bowl game by a non-SEC team since the 1975 Gator Bowl. Alabama shutout LSU, 21-0, in the 2012 BCS National Championship game and that is the only other time an SEC team was shutout of a bowl game since 1975.
No Hard Rock Stadium Stranger
• Virginia is playing its second night game at Hard Rock Stadium this season after playing the Miami Hurricanes in ACC action on Oct. 13 (Fri.). UVA dropped its first of two league games this season as the Hurricanes escaped with a 17-9 win over the then-No. 20 Cavaliers.
• Early in the game 2018 All-American and 2019 UVA captain Bryce Hall went down with a season-ending injury.
• The Orange Bowl will represent for most of UVA’s juniors and seniors their third career game at Hard Rock Stadium.
• Virginia has played nine all-time games at Hard Rock Stadium. Six have come in ACC play against Miami (2009-19), while another three have come in bowl games.
• The 1996 Carquest Bowl (vs. Miami) at then-Joe Robbie Stadium, a 31-21 victory by Miami was the final collegiate action for several notable Cavaliers, including Tiki and Ronde Barber, James Farrior, Jon Harris and Jamie Sharper.
Virginia – Florida Connections
• UVA’s Tavares Kelly attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), as did Florida’s Coleman Crozier, Kyle Engel and Trevon Grimes. The NFL announced that St. Thomas Aquinas High School had the most alums on NFL rosters entering the 2019 season with 13.
• UVA’s Bronco Mendenhall and Florida’s Dan Mullen have never faced each other as head coaches, but met as assistants in the BYU-Utah rivalry. Mendenhall was the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach in 2003 and 2004 when Mullen was quarterback coach at Utah.
• Florida defensive line coach David Turner served on George Welsh’s last four staffs at Virginia from 1997-2000 as the defensive tackles and linebackers coach. He was the position coach for former UVA NFL first rounder Patrick Kerney.
Orange Bowl is UVA’s First NY6 Appearance
• Since the birth of the New Year’s Six bowl games in 2014, UVA is making its first appearance with the invite to the 2019 Orange Bowl.
• UVA is not strange to a couple of other bowls that make up the NY6, making four appearances (1984, 1995, 1998, 2011) in the Peach Bowl and one (1991) in the Sugar Bowl. The 2011 Peach Bowl at the time was called the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
• UVA is 2-3 all-time in the bowl games that make up the current NY6 bowl games.
Nine of Virginia’s opponents in Bowl Games
• Nine of UVA’s previous 13 opponents this season are playing in bowl games.
• Pitt (Quick Lane), Florida State (Sun), Notre Dame (Camping World), Miami (Independence), Louisville (Music City), North Carolina (Military), Liberty (Cure), Virginia Tech (Belk) and Clemson (Fiesta/CFP) are all UVA opponents going bowling this year.
Virginia Wins Its First ACC Coastal Division Crown
• Virginia finished 6-2 in ACC play and won its first Coastal Division, resulting in its first appearance in the ACC Championship game.
• UVA is the first ACC Coastal team since Virginia Tech in 2005 to be in first place in the division for the entire season from day one.
• Virginia is the seventh-different Coastal Division champion dating back to 2013.
• UVA was named the Football Writers Association of America’s National Team of the Week after its 39-30 win over then-No. 23 Virginia Tech on Nov. 29.
Virginia vs. The Associated Press Top 10
• Virginia is playing No. 6 Florida in the 2019 Orange Bowl. UVA is 5-48-1 all-time against the Associated Press Top 10, which includes wins over No. 4 Florida State (2005), No. 7 Georgia Tech (1999), No. 6 North Carolina (1996), No. 2 Florida State (1995) and No. 9 Clemson (1990). All five of those games were played at Scott Stadium.
• UVA is playing its second neutral game in a row against an AP Top 10 opponent. UVA played No. 3 Clemson in the 2019 ACC Championship game.