Cavaliers Welcome Abilene Christian to Town
• Virginia and Abilene Christian meet on Saturday, concluding the Cavaliers’ three-game homestand. The contest will air on MASN in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Everywhere else it will air on regional sports networks.
• Abilene Christian is an FCS program that plays in the Southland Conference.
Be Our Plus-One?
• Abilene Christian and Virginia are meeting for the first time in football as the Wildcats are serving as the Cavaliers’ plus-one in the 11-game ACC scheduling model for 2020, which features 10 conference games and one non-conference game.
• Since the 1978 NCAA Division I-A/I-AA split, ACU is the first new non-FBS opponent for Virginia since UVA hosted JMU in 1979 (W, 69-9), which was the Dukes’ last season at NCAA DII before moving up to I-AA (now FCS).
• ACU is the first out of state FCS program to play Virginia since the 1978 NCAA Division I-A/I-AA split.
Five Top Storylines
• OLB Noah Taylor returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown last time out against Louisville. The return is the longest in program history by a linebacker and tied for third-longest by a Cavalier all-time. It is also tied for the longest INT return by a linebacker this season in all of FBS.
• OLB Charles Snowden has recorded a combined 21 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks over his last three games (at then-No. 11 Miami, vs. then-No. 15 North Carolina & vs. Louisville). He had 5.0 sacks all of 2019. His 6.0 sacks on the year rank tied for No. 1 among the nation’s linebackers.
• QB Brennan Armstrong is tied for the FBS lead with three game totals of 200+ passing yards, 40+ rushing yards, 1+ passing touchdowns and 1+ rushing touchdowns. He shares the spot with Sam Ehlinger (Texas), Asher O’Hara (MTSU) and Malik Willis (Liberty).
• WR Billy Kemp IV is No. 1 in the ACC and No. 19 in the nation with 6.9 receptions per game.
• ILB Nick Jackson is No. 2 in the ACC (No. 20 nationally) with 10.6 tackles per game. He has 37 tackles over his last three games (Miami, UNC, Louisville).
Virginia and Teams from the FCS
• Abilene Christian is the first FCS program not from the Commonwealth of Virginia to play the Cavaliers since the 1978 NCAA Division I-A/I-AA split. With a bevy of current FCS programs (6) in the Commonwealth, UVA has steadily played JMU, Richmond, VMI and William & Mary dating back to 1978.
• There are 15 current FCS programs from outside the Commonwealth of Virginia that UVA has an all-time series. The majority of the meetings coming during the early to mid-20th century. UVA has an all-time series with the following current FCS programs not located in Virginia. The last year the series was played in the parenthesis: Bucknell (1906), The Citadel (1951), Colgate (1970), Columbia (1938), Dartmouth (1934), Davidson (1968), Furman (1923), Georgetown (1913), Harvard (1947), Idaho (2011*), Lafayette (1942), Lehigh (1976), Penn (1950), Princeton (1948) and Yale (1944). *- UVA played a 2011 Idaho team that was an FBS member at the time
Virginia Facing Teams from the Lone Star State
• Virginia is facing a school from the state of Texas for the eighth time. UVA has played three games against Texas, three games against TCU and one against Texas Tech.
• Abilene Christian is just the fourth-different opponent from Texas the Cavaliers have played.
• Abilene Christian is playing its first-ever game in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
• UVA has only played three games in the Lone Star State, playing twice at Texas and once at TCU. UVA has faced TCU and Texas Tech in bowl games. UVA’s most recent game in Texas was at TCU in 2012.
Cavaliers From the State of Texas
• Virginia has five players on its team that call the state of Texas home.
• WR Nathaniel Beal III (Houston), OG Joe Bissinger (Houston), Matt Gahm (Dallas), WR Ra’Shaun Henry (Killeen) and QB Lindell Stone (Dallas) all hail from Texas.
Home Sweet Home
• Virginia returns home to Scott Stadium for the last of three-straight home games.
• UVA is winners of 15 of its last 17 games at Scott Stadium, dating back to the start of the 2018 season.
• UVA snapped a four-game losing streak last time out against then-No. 15 North Carolina. Prior to the win UVA had only led for a combined 30:47 this season, all of which came in the season-opening win over Duke at Scott Stadium. During UVA’s current two-game winning streak at home, UVA has led for a combined 94:21 of 120:00 of playing time, which was 38:32 vs. UNC and 55:49 vs. Louisville.
Armstrong Living the Thorterback Life at UVA
• QB Brennan Armstrong has three games this season with at least 200+ passing yards, 40+ rushing yards, 1+ passing touchdowns and 1+ rushing touchdowns. UVA is 3-0 this season when Armstrong meets those marks. His three games rank tied for No. 1 in the nation this season. He shares the spot with Sam Ehlinger (Texas), Asher O’Hara (MTSU) and Malik Willis (Liberty).
• Since 2000, a UVA quarterback has met those marks just 14 times with Bryce Perkins (2018-19) leading the way with five such games. In fact, Perkins did not accomplish it until his eighth career start with the Cavaliers (vs. UNC, 2018). In comparison, Armstrong did so in three of his first five full games as the starting quarterback.
• Under Bronco Mendenhall, UVA is 7-1 when its quarterback reaches those “Thorterback” marks.
• Prior to Mendenhall’s tenure, current UVA wide receiver coach Marques Hagans accomplished the feat twice in his career, while other UVA QBs since 2000 to reach those marks were Jameel Sewell (twice), Matt Johns (once) and David Watford (once).
Armstrong On Third and fourth Down
• QB Brennan Armstrong is 18-of-30 passing (60 percent) on third down conversions with 12 first downs and one touchdown.
• Armstrong has been known to get the fourth down rush as well, averaging 12.0 yards per rush on fourth down attempts, nabbing five first downs on six tries.
• Armstrong has thrown six of his 11 touchdowns this season on first down.
On a Mission, Snowden Erupts
• Virginia OLB Charles Snowden has been a defensive spark for the Cavaliers the last couple weeks, notching 18 combined tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks.
• He is the only player in the nation with 30+ tackles (43), 6.5+ tackles for loss (10.0), 4+ sacks (6.0) and 3+ passes defended (3).
• His 4.0 sacks against then-No. 15 UNC, three of which came on three-consecutive plays, is a single-season best in all of FBS this year.
• Since 2000, Snowden is one of 11 ACC players to record 4.0+ sacks in a game and the first since Greg Rousseau of Miami did so against FSU in 2019.
• Snowden is the first Cavalier to record 4.0 sacks since Jamie Sharper in 1996 (vs. UNC).
Snowden Continues an ACC Linebacker Tradition
• Virginia OLB Charles Snowden leads the nation’s linebackers with 6.0 sacks. He is in a four-way tie with Arkansas State’s Justin Rice, Georgia State’s Jordan Strachan and FAU’s Leighton McCarthy.
• While also leading the ACC linebackers in sacks, Snowden is on track to become the fourth Cavalier in a row to accomplish this feat. Former OLB Chris Peace did so in 2017 (7.5) and 2018 (7.5), while ILB Jordan Mack (7.5) was the one in 2019. Also, all four at one time have had Kelly Poppinga as their position coach at UVA. Mack was an OLB in 2016 as a freshman, before moving inside in 2017.
One Taylor of a Kind
• OLB Noah Taylor returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown on Nov. 14 against Louisville. It was the longest INT return by a linebacker in program history and is tied for the third-longest return in the UVA record book, sharing the spot with teammate Nick Grant’s 85-yard INT return against William & Mary last year.
• The return is also tied for the longest this season by a linebacker in all of FBS, sharing the spot with Kentucky’s Jamin Davis. It is the longest return in the ACC this season and tied for the third longest overall in FBS.
• Taylor is the only player in the nation since the 2019 season started with at least 9.0 sacks and at least three interceptions.
• Taylor is used in a myriad of ways, coming off the edge, as well as dropping into coverage. Of his 38 tackles, 27 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.
The C-Ville Trio
• Virginia has three receivers, Billy Kemp IV (48), Terrell Jana (31) and Tony Poljan (25), with at least 25 receptions. It is one of 12 programs in the nation with three players at that plateau in catches, joining, Arkansas State, Boston College, BYU, Clemson, Miami, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, SMU, West Virginia and Western Kentucky.
Armstrong vs. Associated Press Top 25 Teams
• QB Brennan Armstrong has played well against AP Top 25 teams in 2020.
• In games against No. 1 Clemson, No. 11 Miami and No. 15 North Carolina, Armstrong has thrown for 659 yards, eight touchdowns (3 INTs) and rushed for 246 more yards and another score. That comes out to 905 yards of total offense (301.7 ypg) and nine touchdowns responsible for.