CHARLOTTESVILLE – Virginia came into the weekend ranked first among Football Bowl Subdivision teams in total offense, having averaged 545.2 yards per game. But that was with Brennan Armstrong at quarterback.
With Armstrong, who ranks second nationally in passing yards per game (395.2), sidelined Saturday night with a rib injury, the Cavaliers’ offense sputtered against No. 7 Notre Dame. Virginia’s defense came up with two takeaways and two fourth-down stops, but that wasn’t enough to slow the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame led 21-0 at the break and cruised to a 28-3 victory before a crowd of 48,584 at Scott Stadium. UVA’s points came on a 34-yard field goal by Brendan Farrell early in the fourth quarter.
The Wahoos, who came in averaging 38.9 points per game, finished with 278 yards of total offense. Jay Woolfolk, the first true freshman to start at quarterback for UVA since Bryan Shumock in 1977, battled gamely throughout, but the Irish (9-1) sacked him seven times and picked off two of his passes.
Woolfolk finished 18-of-33 passing for 196 yards. Keytaon Thompson accounted for 110 yards of those yards, on nine receptions. Running back Mike Hollins led the Cavaliers with 44 yards on nine carries.
“The offense just needed to step it up tonight,” Thompson said, “and we didn’t do that.”
The Cavaliers have lost back-to-back games—each to a ranked non-conference opponent––but remain in the race for the ACC’s Coastal Division title. UVA (6-4 overall, 4-2 ACC) visits Coastal leader Pitt (8-2, 5-1) next weekend.
No. 25 Pitt defeated North Carolina 30-23 in overtime Thursday night at Heinz Field.
If the Hoos defeat Pitt and then Virginia Tech, which plays at Scott Stadium on Nov. 27, they will win the Coastal and advance to the ACC championship game.
• Virginia dropped to 0-4 all-time against Notre Dame.
• The Cavalier defense forced four turnovers, a fumble recovery, interception and two turnovers on downs.
• Virginia held Notre Dame to just seven, second-half points, the fourth time this season an opponent has scored seven or less points in second half (William & Mary, Illinois, Duke, Notre Dame). It was the first time Notre Dame was held to seven or less in the second half since its season opener against Florida State.
• The announced attendance of the game was 48,584, the largest crowd at Scott Stadium this season and the most since the 2019 season finale against Virginia Tech.
• It was the first time Virginia was held scoreless in the first half since 2017 (Virginia Tech)
• Freshman Jay Woolfolk became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for UVA since 1977, when Bryan Shumock started the first five games of the season.
• Woolfolk threw for 196 yards the most ever by a true freshman starting quarterback, eclipsing Scott Gardner’s 189 yard performance against North Carolina in 1972.
• Keytaon Thompson led UVA with nine catches and 110 yards receiving. It was his second 100-yard receiving game of the season and the third-straight game with nine receptions.
• Wide receiver Billy Kemp IV passed Taquan Mizell (162) for fourth place on UVA’s career receptions list. Kemp caught four passes for 37 yards on the night and now has 165 receptions in his career. Kemp has caught a pass in 25-straight games.
• Dontayvion Wicks became the fifth Cavalier ever to go over the 1,000-yard receiving mark. He caught two passes for 32 yards and now has 1,004 yards on the year.
• Thompson, Kemp, and Wicks have a catch in all 10 games this season.
• Defensive back Anthony Johnson was credited with second interception of the season, picking off Jack Coan in the third quarter. The interception was his fourth of his career.
• Noah Taylor recovered a fumble in the red zone, his first career fumble recovery.