Virginia Heads To Florida
• The Cavaliers continue their road trip on Saturday when they head to Miami Gardens, Fla., to face the Miami Hurricanes.
• The annual UVA meeting with Miami is a night game for the third year in a row. It is also the seventh all-time meeting between the Cavaliers and Hurricanes at night.
• UVA has won two of the last three games (2010 & 2018) against Miami when the Hurricanes were ranked and the Cavaliers were not, with its only loss in 2017 at Hard Rock Stadium against then-No. 2 Miami.
Virginia vs. Miami
• This is the 18th meeting between the normal Coastal Division rivals. Miami leads the series by three games, 10-7.
• Miami won the first three games in the series (1996, 2004, 2005), but it’s been an even 7-7 record since.
• Since the Hurricanes’ arrival in the Atlantic Coast Conference (2004), Miami leads the series narrowly, 9-7, in ACC play.
Five Top Storylines
• UVA is 3-1 against Miami in the 10th month of the year, winning in 2010 (Oct. 30) at Scott Stadium, 24-19, in 2011 (Oct. 27) on a Thursday night at Hard Rock Stadium, 28-21 and in 2018 (Oct. 13) at Scott Stadium, 16-13. Last year’s 17-9 setback, the earliest-ever meeting between these teams, is UVA’s lone loss to the Hurricanes in the month of October.
• Saturday will mark the third game for the Cavaliers at Hard Rock Stadium over a span of 379 days, which includes an Oct. 11, 2019 meeting with the Hurricanes and a Dec. 30, 2019 appearance in the Orange Bowl against Florida.
• WR Billy Kemp IV has 36 receptions this season. Kemp’s 36 receptions are the most by a Cavalier in program history through the first four games of a season.
• Kemp is No. 1 in the ACC and No. 5 in the nation with 9.0 receptions per game. With 10 receptions in each of the last two games, he is just the fifth different Cavalier to notch multiple 10+ reception games in the same season. He joins Hasise Dubois (2019), Billy McMullen (2001 & 2002), Alvin Pearman (2003) and Olamide Zaccheaus (2018).• WR Lavel Davis Jr. leads the nation’s freshmen wide receivers in yards per reception with 23.33 per catch.
Virginia at NFL Stadiums
• Virginia is 12-22 all-time in venues 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.
• After losing seven games in a row in NFL stadiums, UVA snapped the streak with a 28-0 triumph over South Carolina in the 2018 Belk Bowl (Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium).
• Saturday is the third game UVA has played at Hard Rock Stadium in just over a year. Not only did UVA play at Miami last season (Oct. 11), but it also faced Florida in the 2020 Orange Bowl on Dec. 30, 2019.
Mendenhall and National Championship Programs
• UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall has at least one career victory over 12-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).
More on the UVA-Miami Series
• The first match-up occurred in the 1996 Carquest Bowl at then-Joe Robbie Stadium, a 31-21 victory by Miami.
• That game was the final collegiate action for several notable Cavaliers, including Tiki and Ronde Barber, James Farrior, Jon Harris and Jamie Sharper.
• In addition to this Cavalier quintet, the game featured a large number of future pros.
• Of the 44 starters in the game, 20 were drafted by NFL teams (11 UVA, 9 Miami). The group of NFL draftees included nine first-round picks. Twenty-one Cavaliers and 22 Hurricanes went on to play in the NFL.
• Saturday is the seventh time UVA and Miami have played a night game. UVA is 4-2 all-time against Miami when playing at night. UVA closed Miami’s tenure at the Orange Bowl with a 48-0 win in 2007, followed by a Thursday Night win at Hard Rock Stadium in 2011, defeating the Hurricanes 28-21. UVA defeated Miami in a Saturday night game in 2014 at Scott Stadium, 30-13. Most recently, UVA topped then-No. 16 Miami at Scott Stadium in 2018, 16-13, in a night game. The first loss came in the 1996 Carquest Bowl (31-21), the first game in the all-time series. Last year’s 17-9 loss at Hard Rock Stadium was the second to the Hurricanes in a night game.
Alonso Headlines 11 Florida Natives on UVA’s roster
• Virginia defensive lineman Mandy Alonso hails from Miami and starred at Gulliver Prep. Saturday will be Alonso’s fourth career game for Virginia at Hard Rock Stadium. Alonso started the 2017 and 2019 meetings against Miami and appeared in the 2019 Orange Bowl against Florida. In three career games as a Cavalier at Hard Rock Stadium Alonso has seven tackles, 2.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks.
• Alonso is one of 11 Cavaliers from Florida. Other “South Beach” area Cavaliers are: Tavares Kelly Jr., Sean Moore, Brenton Nelson and D’Sean Perry. The other six Cavaliers from Florida are: Antonio Clary (Jacksonville), Dave Herard (Fort Lauderdale), Jordan Redmond (Kissimmee), Ryan Swoboda (Windermere), Zachary Teter (Lakeland) and Andrew Yavinsky (West Palm Beach).
UVA Accomplished This Florida Feat
• UVA’s trip to then-Sun Life Stadium in 2011 resulted in the Cavaliers’ 28-21 victory. The win set the table for Virginia to become the first program in college football history to win road games at Miami and Florida State in the same season. UVA later won in 2011 at then-No. 23 FSU, 14-13.
• UVA was the only team in college football history to accomplish the feat until North Carolina did so in 2016.
• Florida State and Miami have brought eight combined national titles to the Sunshine State.
• The 2020 schedule for Virginia gives the Cavaliers their first opportunity to replicate their 2011 history as they make two trips to Florida. UVA is scheduled to play at FSU on Nov. 28.
Last-Second Heroics in 2012
• The 2012 game at Scott Stadium saw last-second heroics by the Cavaliers.
• Michael Rocco tossed a 10-yard pass to Jake McGee in the back of the end zone with six seconds left to beat Miami, 41-40 at Scott Stadium. The touchdown capped a 10-point, fourth quarter comeback.
• Rocco was 29-of-37 for 300 yards and four touchdowns in the win.
• McGee had four catches for 26 yards including the game-winning score.
• WR Dominique Terrell had a career day in the 2012 meeting with nine catches for 127 yards.
• The victory serves as the most recent UVA “last-minute win,” which means the winning score came with 60 seconds or less remaining in the game.
Virginia – Miami connections
• UVA’s defensive back Brenton Nelson was born in Miami and played three seasons at Winter Springs High School near Orlando before his family moved to Maryland and he enrolled at DeMatha.
• UVA’s Tavares Kelly attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), as did Miami’s Mike Harley, Al Blades, Jr., and Avery Huff. The NFL announced that St. Thomas Aquinas High School had the most alums on NFL rosters entering the 2020 season with 14. St. Thomas Aquinas has earned this honor for the seventh season in a row and eighth in the past nine.
Kemp Becoming a Workhorse for the UVA Offense
• WR Billy Kemp IV has become a workhorse for the Virginia offense. He currently ranks No. 1 in the ACC and No. 5 in the nation with 9.0 receptions per game. He tallied a career-high 10 catches at No. 1 Clemson and again against NC State. His 96 receiving yards against the Tigers was also a career high.
• Kemp ranks No. 5 in the ACC and No. 32 nationally with 79.0 receiving yards per game.
• Over his last nine games, dating back to Nov. 9, 2019 vs. Georgia Tech, Kemp has caught 57 passes (6.3 rpg) for 509 yards (56.5 ypg) and two touchdowns (vs. VT & NC State).
Poljan Bringing the Tight End Back TO UVA
• TE Tony Poljan, a grad transfer from Central Michigan, has 18 receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns this season.
• Since 2000, only Virginia tight end Heath Miller (18) in 2003 had as many receptions as Poljan has had through the first four games. Poljan’s two touchdowns is the same as what Miller had in 2003. Miller went on to notch 70 receptions for 835 yards and six touchdowns in 2003.
• Since 2001, UVA tight ends have accumulated 799 receptions, 8,303 receiving yards and 72 touchdowns, by far the best in the ACC over that span.
• From that list of tight ends, 10 have enjoyed careers in the NFL with seven lasting 3+ years.
Poljan One of the Nation’s More productive Tight ends
• TE Tony Poljan is No. 5 in the nation among tight ends with 18 receptions.
• The ACC boasts four of the nation’s Top 5 tight ends in regards to receptions.
• Of all the tight ends in the Top 5, Poljan is the only one who doesn’t lead his team in receptions as he is third on UVA behind WR Billy Kemp IV (36) and WR Terrell Jana (22).
Taylor a Unique Talent for the Cavaliers
• OLB Noah Taylor is the only player in the nation with at least 20 tackles (23), five TFLs (5.5), two sacks (2.5) and two passes defended (2).
• Taylor is used in a myriad of ways, coming off the edge, as well as dropping into coverage. Of his 23 tackles, 17 have come on rushing plays.
• Taylor is building on his breakthrough 2019 season when he finished 2019 with 57 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 7.0 sacks, 2 INT, 4 PBU, 1 FF and 1 punt block. His 7.0 sacks ranked No. 2 among ACC linebackers in 2019, second to former UVA teammate Jordan Mack (Carolina Panthers). Taylor was also just one of three FBS players with 2+ INTs and 7+ sacks in 2019 and the only one returning to college football in 2020.
Opponents Racking Up the Penalties
• UVA has drawn back-to-back opponents to 10+ penalties and 100+ penalty yards games. UVA opponents have committed 23 penalties for 219 yards over the past two games.
• NC State committed 11 penalties for 100 yards, while Wake Forest committed 12 penalties for 119 yards. In contrast, UVA committed 12 penalties for 133 yards over the same two-game span.
• For the year, UVA has committed 18 penalties for 183 yards, while UVA opponents have committed 34 infractions for 309 yards.
Lavel Davis Jr. Stretches the Field
• WR Lavel Davis Jr. is No. 6 in the nation in yards per reception (23.33), which ranks No. 1 in the nation among freshmen wide receivers. The only freshman in the nation with a better mark is running back Deuce Vaughn from Kansas State.
• Five of Davis Jr.’s nine receptions this season have gone for 20+ yards and three have gone for 30+ yards. All nine of his receptions have gone for a first down or a touchdown.
• Dating back to 2000, Davis Jr.’s 23.33 yards per reception mark through UVA’s first four games is the second highest in program history of players with at least seven receptions. Only Andre Levrone as a senior in 2017 had a better yards per catch average (26.8).
Blount and Zandier are a tackling Duo
• Only 24 active FBS players have 200+ career tackles and UVA has two of them. Both FS Joey Blount (210) and ILB Zane Zandier (211) are part of the 24. Blount and Zandier are the only active Power-5 teammates with 200+ career tackles.
• Western Kentucky’s Devon Key (294) and DeAngelo Malone (218) are the only other FBS teammates with 200+ career tackles.
Nelson Climbing the Active Career List for INTs
• SS Brenton Nelson has eight career interceptions. He is tied for No. 6 among active FBS players for most career interceptions.
• FS Joey Blount (6) and CB De’Vante Cross (4), along with Nelson (8), make Virginia one of three schools with at least three players with 4+ career interceptions. Cincinnati has seven with 4+, while LSU, like UVA, has three.
• CB Nick Grant has three interceptions, also joining the Top 100 of career interceptions among active players.