UVA Heads to “Death Valley” on Saturday
• The Virginia Cavaliers head on the road for the first time in 2020 to face the top-ranked Clemson Tigers in “Death Valley.”
Virginia vs. Clemson
• Overall, the series has been one-sided, with Clemson holding a 39-8-1 edge.
• UVA and Clemson last met in 2019 for the ACC title at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Prior to that contest, the Cavaliers and Tigers had not met since a 2013 contest at Scott Stadium, which resulted in a 59-10 Clemson win.
• UVA is visiting “Death Valley” for the first time since 2009. The Tigers escaped with the 34-21 victory in what served as C.J. Spiller’s “Senior Day” game at Clemson.
• UVA has won three of the last eight games though, including two of four at Scott Stadium.
• The Tigers won the first 29 games in the series before UVA won in 1990. Since then, Virginia is 8-10-1 vs. Clemson.
Five Top Storylines
•WR Lavel Davis Jr. notched four receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns in his collegiate debut against Duke. He is the only Cavalier in program history to record 100+ receiving yards in his collegiate debut.
• SS Brenton Nelson pulled down a career-high two interceptions in the win against Duke. Nelson, the 2017 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, returned to action after missing the last six games of 2019 due to an injury that hampered him most of the season. He is one of four FBS players this season to notch two interceptions in a game.
• Last time out, Virginia forced Duke to turn the ball over seven times, including five interceptions. Both the seven overall turnovers forced and the five interceptions are FBS single-game highs in the nation so far this season. The five interceptions tie a UVA single-game record, which has been accomplished 10 times so far.
• QB Brennan Armstrong became just the second left-handed quarterback in Virginia history to start a game when he did so against Duke. He joins fellow southpaw Jameel Sewell, who started 32 career games for the Cavaliers over the 2006, 2007 and 2009 seasons. Armstrong passed for 269 yards, which ranks No. 2 all-time at UVA among first career starts.
• Bronco Mendenhall is 5-0 all-time in ACC openers, including wins over Duke in 2016, 2017 and 2020. UVA also topped Louisville in 2018 and Pitt in 2019 ACC openers under Mendenhall. The 2016 UVA win by Mendenhall in his first-ever ACC game (at Duke) marked the first time a UVA coach won his first-ever ACC contest as the Cavalier head coach.
Mendenhall and National Championship Programs
• A win over Clemson 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).
UVA vs. Ranked Clemson Teams
• UVA is 2-14-1 all-time against ranked Clemson teams, including 1-8-1 at Memorial Stadium.
• UVA’s lone win at Memorial Stadium came in 2001 during Al Groh’s first season as the Cavalier head coach. The Cavaliers beat then-No. 19 Clemson, 26-24, when Bryson Spinner found Billy McMullen in the end zone on a one-yard passing play with one second left to play.
• The lone UVA win against a ranked Tiger team at Scott Stadium came in Virginia’s first win over Clemson in program history in 1990.
Stop the Clemson Ground Game
• Virginia’s ability to contain the Clemson running game has been an important factor in its eight wins over the Tigers.
• Since 1990 Virginia has won eight of 13 games when holding Clemson under 200 yards on the ground.
• The 2008 meeting was an aberration – Clemson won despite only rushing for 56 yards in a 13-3 contest at UVA.
• UVA held C.J. Spiller to 18 yards rushing and a season-low 1.3 yards per carry in that 2008 meeting.
• Virginia is 8-11 all-time against Clemson when the Tigers fail to rush for at least 200 yards, but six of the losses occurred prior to 1978 in the midst of UVA’s 29-game losing streak to Clemson.
Virginia Vs. The Associated Press Top 5
• Virginia is playing No. 1 Clemson on Saturday. UVA is 2-24-1 all-time against the Associated Press Top 5, which includes wins over No. 4 Florida State (2005) and No. 2 Florida State (1995). Both those games were played at Scott Stadium.
• UVA is playing its first road game against an AP Top 5 opponent since 2017 when the Cavaliers lost at then-No. 2 Miami (44-28) on Nov. 18, 2017.
• Saturday is UVA’s first game against the AP’s No. 1 team since hosting then-No. 1 Florida State on Oct. 30, 1999.
Virginia in Night Games Under Mendenhall
• In 2019 UVA set a single-season program record by playing in eight night games.
• The Cavaliers are 64-50-1 all-time in night games, including 8-7 under Bronco Mendenhall.
Highlights from the Duke Win
• With the help of the Havoc Hoos, Virginia forced seven Duke turnovers on Sept. 26. UVA has forced 25 Duke turnovers during its current six-game winning streak over the Blue Devils.
• UVA’s seven forced turnovers and five interceptions are both single-game highs for a team in FBS this season.
• In 131 seasons of Virginia football, the Cavaliers have notched a program record five interceptions 10 times in a game. Two of those times have come in the Bronco Mendenhall era at UVA and both times against Duke (2016 and 2020).
• At +4 in the turnover margin, UVA is No. 1 in the nation in that category.
• UVA opened back-to-back seasons with ACC wins for the first time in program history after winning at Pitt to open 2019.
• Zane Zandier notched a career-high 15 tackles, which is a single-game best in the ACC this season. He was named ACC Linebacker of the Week for his efforts.
• TB Wayne Taulapapa rushed 16 times for a career-high 95 yards against Duke. His previous high was 77 against Duke last year.