Virginia Heads to Florida State on Saturday
• The Virginia Cavaliers travel to Tallahassee to face the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday night. It is just UVA’s third visit to Doak Campbell Stadium since the 2007 season (2011 & 2014).
• UVA is playing a team other than rival Virginia Tech on Thanksgiving weekend for the first time since 2005 when the Cavaliers played at then-No. 10 Miami.
Virginia vs. Florida State
• Virginia and Florida State are meeting for the 20th time in series history. FSU holds a 15-4 advantage in the series, including a 9-1 mark in Tallahassee. UVA has won two of the last three series meetings.
• UVA and FSU are playing a night game against each other for the 11th time in series history. FSU leads the series when played at night, 6-4, including 2-1 at Doak Campbell Stadium.
• UVA’s first two wins in the series came over top-five ranked FSU teams – a 33-28 win over then-No. 2 FSU in 1995 and a 26-21 victory over then-No. 4 FSU in 2005. Those wins represent the two highest-ranked foes UVA has ever defeated.
• Virginia’s win over then-No. 23 Florida State in the 2011 meeting proved to be historic for the Cavaliers as UVA became the first program in college football history to record road victories at Florida State and Miami in the same season. Those two programs have brought eight combined National Championships to the Sunshine State. UVA also defeated the Miami Hurricanes, 28-21, at then-Sun Life Stadium earlier during the 2011 season on ESPN’s Thursday Night Football.
• UVA was the only team in college football history to accomplish the feat until North Carolina did so in 2016.
Five Top Storylines
• 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), Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati) and Malik Willis (Liberty).
• WR Lavel Davis Jr. ranks No. 5 in the nation among freshmen with 374 receiving yards and is tied for No. 2 in the nation among freshmen for receiving touchdowns with five.
• Davis Jr. ranks No. 4 in the nation (No. 1 in the ACC) with 26.7 yards per reception.
• WR Billy Kemp IV is No. 1 in the ACC and No. 20 in the nation with 6.5 receptions per game.
• ILB Nick Jackson is No. 2 in the ACC (No. 25 nationally) with 10.6 tackles per game. He has 48 tackles over his last three games (Miami, UNC, Louisville, ACU).
It’s Been Great Seeing You
• Because of the ACC’s unbalanced schedule, UVA is playing in Tallahassee for just the third time since the 2006 meeting.
• In 2013 the ACC announced a 12-year schedule for its rotating division crossover opponents through the 2024 season. Between 2013 and 2024 UVA and Florida State were only scheduled to meet 2014 and 2019. The unique nature of the 2020 season with the 10-game conference slate has given UVA contests with the Seminoles in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
• Virginia and Florida State played every season from 1993-2006, but have only played four times since (2010, 2011, 2014 and 2019).
• In 2024 when the already announced ACC rotating crossover conference schedule is complete, UVA and Florida State will have met just six times in 19 seasons between 2006-2024.
1995 FSU-UVa Game featured 62 future NFL Players
• The Cavaliers handed FSU its first-ever loss in the ACC and snapped FSU’s 29-game conference winning streak when UVA’s Anthony Poindexter and Adrian Burnim were both in on the goal-line tackle of Warrick Dunn as time expired in the 1995 win over then-No. 2 Florida State.
• In all, a total of 62 players on the FSU and UVA rosters (30 from UVA) went on to play in the NFL, including 45 players who participated in the game (22 from UVA). No other ACC game has had more future NFL participants.
“We couldn’t stop that dadgum No. 18”
• The 2005 meeting between UVA and Florida State served a big win over the Seminoles as the Cavaliers outlasted then-No. 4 FSU 26-21.
• Current UVA wide receivers coach Marques Hagans was a thorn in Florida State’s side during the 2005 meeting, prompting then-head coach Bobby Bowden to respond postgame: “I’ve never seen a quarterback make as many one-man plays as he made tonight. We couldn’t stop that dadgum No. 18.”
• Hagans threw for a then-career-best 306 yards and two touchdowns and Connor Hughes kicked four field goals for the Cavaliers.
• Like UVA’s victory in 1995, which ended with Warrick Dunn stopped inches from the goal line on the final play to preserve a 33-28 victory, this one went to the wire, too, sealed by Tony Franklin’s interception of Drew Weatherford with 50 seconds left.
• Hagans is part of three of UVA’s four all-time wins against Florida State. In addition to the 2005 win, he was a graduate assistant when UVA won at FSU in 2011 and was the wide receiver coach last season for the win in Charlottesville.
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).
Teams Ranked in the Series
• Five of the first seven meetings in the series both teams were ranked.
• The 2019 UVA win was the only time this series has been played when Virginia was ranked and FSU was not.
• Saturday is just the fourth time in the series that FSU was not ranked, including last season when UVA recorded the victory. The 2019 win was UVA’s first in the series that wasn’t over a ranked FSU team.
• Saturday is only the third time in 20 meetings that both teams are not ranked at the time the game is played. Neither UVA or FSU was ranked in 2006 or 2010.
Virginia – Florida State connections
• UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall faced Florida State twice as the head coach of BYU, losing at home in 2009 and in Tallahassee in 2010. He beat FSU last year as UVA’s head coach. With Saturday’s game against FSU, Mendenhall will have coached against each of the last four FSU head coaches (Bobby Bowden, Jimbo Fisher, Willie Taggart and Mike Norvell), which have covered the program since 1976.
• FSU head coach Mike Norvell has a couple connections with UVA personnel. UVA’s director of football development & performance Shawn Griswold was in the same position at Tulsa when Norvell was a graduate assistant and then later the passing game coordinator, wide receiver coach and eventually the co-offensive coordinator. They both joined Todd Graham at Pitt in 2011 from Tulsa and later they both follwed Graham to Arizona State. While at Arizona State, Norvell was the offensive coordinator and position coach for former UVA quarterback Bryce Perkins’ freshman season at ASU in 2015.
• FSU offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, and deputy head coach and tight ends coach Chris Thomsen were both at ASU with Norvell and Griswold.
• UVA’s Tavares Kelly attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), as did FSU’s Asante Samuel Jr. 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.
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) Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati) 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).
• Against Abilene Christian on Nov. 21 Armstrong set a career high with four passing touchdowns. Coming into the game he had only one pass of 50 yards or more. Three of his four passing touchdowns came on passes of 90, 56 and 52 yards, making him the first Cavalier in program history to throw at least three passes of 50+ yards in a single game.
Armstrong On Third and fourth Down
• QB Brennan Armstrong is 20-of-32 passing (62 percent) on third down and long conversions with 14 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 nine of his 15 touchdowns this season on first down.
Lavel Davis Jr. Stretches the Field
• WR Lavel Davis Jr. is averaging 26.7 yards per reception so far this season, which ranks No. 1 in the ACC and No. 4 in the nation.
• Nine of Davis Jr.’s 14 receptions this season have gone for 20+ yards and four have gone for 30+ yards. All 14 of his receptions have gone for a first down or a touchdown.
• Dating back to 2000, Davis Jr.’s 21.8 yards per reception mark through UVA’s first eight games is the highest in program history of players with at least 10 receptions.
• Despite missing two games, Davis still ranks No. 5 in the nation among freshmen with 374 receiving yards. Of the four players ahead of him on the freshman receiving list, he is the only one who was in high school last spring. Pitt’s Jordan Addison and Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims are both true freshmen, but enrolled in college last January. Wake Forest’s Donavon Greene and Memphis’ Tahj Washington both played in four games in 2019 and retained redshirt seasons.