Cavaliers and Hokies Meet for Commonwealth Cup
• Virginia and Virginia Tech will play a nationally-televised game on Saturday night on the ACC Network.
• The winner of this game claims the Commonwealth Cup.
• The award was started for the 1996 game between the two state foes, with the Hokies receiving the trophy for the first time with a 26-9 win.
• Saturday is just the 11th all-time regular season UVA football game in the month of December. Because of the unique 2020 schedule model, this is the first year UVA has multiple regular season games in the month of December. The only other season UVA played multiple games in December was 2019 when the Cavaliers played in the ACC Championship game and the Orange Bowl.
• Saturday concludes UVA’s regular season. The last time the Cavaliers played as few as 10 games in a regular season was in 1969.
Virginia vs. Tech
• The Cavaliers and Hokies are playing in the month of December for the first time in series history.
• Saturday marks only the third time in the last 30 years UVA has entered its yearly meeting with VT on a four-game winning streak. In 1991 UVA beat VT, 38-0, while in 2011 the Hokies beat the Cavaliers by the same 38-0 score.
• With a 39-30 win over VT the last time these teams met, UVA is seeking to beat Tech in back-to-back years for the first time since 1997 and 1998. The 1998 come-from-behind victory (36-32) on the Aaron Brooks to Ahmad Hawkins 47-yard touchdown with 2:01 left also marks UVA’s most recent win at Lane Stadium.
Five Top Storylines
• QB Brennan Armstrong became the first Cavalier quarterback in program history to record 400+ yards of total offense in back-to-back games. He notched a career-high 435 yards vs. Abilene Christian and followed that up with 417 total yards last time out against Boston College.
• Armstrong is the only player in FBS this season with six game totals of 200+ passing yards and 45+ rushing yards. If you lower the numbers to 180+ passing yards and 40+ rushing yards, the only players are Armstrong and Notre Dame’s Ian Book, both with seven games.
• WR Lavel Davis Jr. ranks No. 7 in the nation among freshmen with 440 receiving yards and is tied for No. 2 in the nation among freshmen for receiving touchdowns with five. Davis Jr. ranks No. 3 in the nation (No. 1 in the ACC) with 25.9 yards per reception.
• WR Billy Kemp IV is No. 1 in the ACC and No. 21 in the nation with 6.4 receptions per game.
• ILB Nick Jackson is No. 1 in the ACC (No. 17 nationally) with 10.9 tackles per game. He has 61 tackles over UVA’s current four-game winning streak (Miami, UNC, Louisville, ACU, BC).
Armstrong Living the Thorterback Life at UVA
• QB Brennan Armstrong has four games this season with at least 200+ passing yards, 40+ rushing yards, 1+ passing touchdowns and 1+ rushing touchdowns. UVA is 4-0 this season when Armstrong meets those marks. His four games rank tied for No. 1 in the nation this season. He shares the top spot with Sam Ehlinger (Texas) and Malik Willis (Liberty).
• Since 2000, a UVA quarterback has met those marks just 15 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 four of his first seven full games as the starting quarterback.
• Under Bronco Mendenhall, UVA is 8-1 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 became the first Cavalier quarterback in program history to record 400+ yards of total offense in back-to-back games. He notched a career-high 435 yards vs. Abilene Christian and followed that up with 417 total yards last time out against Boston College.
• Armstrong was the nation’s top graded quarterback by Pro Football Focus after the Boston College game (93.7). He and Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler are the only two quarterbacks this season to have multiple games graded in PFF’s weekly Top 11.
Armstrong On Third and fourth Down
• QB Brennan Armstrong is 22-of-36 passing (61 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 10 of his 16 touchdowns this season on first down.
Armstrong Since Returning From Injury
• QB Brennan Armstrong left the NC State game in the second quarter with an injury and did not return. He also missed the next game at Wake Forest. Since his return at No. 11 Miami, Armstrong has been on fire.
• Armstrong is 78-of-125 passing (62.4) for 1,262 yards, 11 touchdowns (3 INT) over the past five games. He has also rushed 73 times for 399 yards (5.5 ypr) and four more touchdowns. UVA is 4-1 in those games.
Field Position Trending positive In Winning Streak
• During UVA’s current four-game winning streak the Cavaliers are +5 in the field position battle. They are starting on average at its own 31.75 yard-line, while UVA opponents are starting on average at its 26.75 yard-line.
• For the season, Virginia is losing the field position battle by an average of 1.0 yards for the season. UVA’s average starting field position is its own 28.9, while its opponents on average start at the 29.9-yard line.
• The field position deficit has shrunk during the current four-game winning streak. Heading into the UNC game, UVA was losing the field position battle by 5.8 yards and was starting on average at its own 26.6, while opponents were starting on average at the 32.4.
• Compared to last season, UVA had +6.6 average in field position for the season as its average starting field position was the 33.9 yard-line, while opponents were starting on average at their own 27.3 yard line.
Shane Simpson Tribute to Charles Snowden
• On “Senior Day” at Scott Stadium against Boston College, TB Shane Simpson donned Charles Snowden’s No. 11 to honor the UVA captain lost for the season with an injury. Simpson will return to No. 31 on Saturday.
• Simpson said: “I felt like 11 should be worn one more time in Scott! I know that No. 31 has made an impact this year but, No. 11 is special to a lot of UVA fans so, I thought it would be great to play for my brotha on our senior days.”
• Honored by Simpson, Snowden said: “The number doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to the program and I wanted to see that 11 out there with my guys on senior day. Shane reached out and shared why it meant so much to him and so those two things put together it was a no brainer.”
UVA and the Sack
• Virginia is for No. 4 in the nation with 32 sacks. The Cavaliers have recorded 22 combined sacks over the last five games.
Red Zone Success
• Virginia is 17-of-17 inside the red zone during its current four-game winning streak. The Cavaliers have scored 12 touchdowns and kicked five field goals.
• Prior to the winning streak, UVA was 16-of-22 inside the red zone.
Lavel Davis Jr. Stretches the Field
• WR Lavel Davis Jr. is averaging 25.88 yards per reception so far this season, which ranks No. 1 in the ACC and No. 3 in the nation.
• Twelve of Davis Jr.’s 17 receptions this season have gone for 20+ yards and four have gone for 30+ yards. Sixteen of his 17 receptions have gone for a first down or a touchdown. The one that didn’t was a 24-yard reception on a second and 25-yard play against Boston College.
• Dating back to 2000, Davis Jr.’s 25.8 yards per reception mark through UVA’s first nine games is the highest in program history of players with at least 15 receptions.
• Despite missing two games, Davis still ranks No. 7 in the nation among freshmen with 440 receiving yards.