CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Nothing came easily for the University of Virginia football team in its first five games, and more challenges arose Saturday at Scott Stadium.

Against William & Mary, which is ranked No. 9 in the FCS, UVA found itself trailing 13-3 early in the second quarter, and the home fans in the announced crowd of 38,289 grew anxious. But the Cavaliers were determined to write a different script in their Homecomings game, and they succeeded on an afternoon when their many standouts included quarterback Tony Muskett, tailbacks Perris Jones and Kobe Pace, wide receivers Malik Washington and Malachi Fields, and linebacker Kam Robinson.

Virginia scored the game’s final 24 points and walked off with a 27-13 victory. For the Wahoos (1-5), the win was their first since Oct. 20, 2022, when they defeated Georgia Tech 16-9 in Atlanta.


  • The two teams traded field goals in the first 15 minutes of the game. William & Mary’s Caden Bonoffski hit both of his attempts in the opening stanza, one from 38 yards at the 10:07 mark and a 48-yard strike to give W&M a 6-3 advantage with 1:35 left in the opening frame.
  • William & Mary forced a Muskett fumble on first down on the W&M 39 and John Pius returned it 57 yards before being run down by UVA’s Perris Jones on the four-yard line. The Tribe eventually scored on a one-yard plunge by Martin Lucas on fourth down to open up a 13-3 advantage.
  • On the next four W&M possessions, the UVA defense force a turnover and three, three-and-outs to allow the Cavaliers to chip away at the double-digit deficit.
  • The UVA offense responded with 17 points in the second quarter, it second-highest scoring output in a quarter this season (Maryland – 21 points). The Cavaliers marched down the field on a six-play, 66-yard scoring drive that took just 2:22 off the clock and ended with a Muskett seven-yard touchdown rush.

  • Will Bettridge connected on a 45-yard field goal, the second longest field goal of his career, with 2:28 remaining to knot the game at 13.
  • It looked like that’s how the half would end but cornerback Coen King forced a William & Mary fumble on the second play of the ensuing drive. Muskett engineered a six-play, 79-yard drive that ended with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Malachi Fields with seven seconds left on the clock. It was the second time in as many weeks Fields caught a touchdown pass at the end of the first half.

  • Leading 20-13 out of the break, UVA made it a two-score game at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Muskett dropped a 27-yard pass into the arms of Washington, putting UVA up 27-13 with the successful extra point.

  • Despite holding the ball for over 13 minutes in its final two possessions, William & Mary was unable to translate it to points. Ben Smiley and Tayvonn Kyle stopped Lucas in the backfield on fourth down to end a Tribe drive late in the third quarter. Pressure on the quarterback from Chico Bennett Jr. on fourth and four with less than five minutes remaining in the game.

UP NEXT: The Cavaliers are off next week and return to action on Oct. 21 when they visit North Carolina at Kenan Stadium. Kickoff time for the contest will be announced by the ACC on Monday (Oct. 9).

Virginia won’t return home until Nov. 7 when it host Georgia Tech at Scott Stadium.


Virginia Team Notes

  • Virginia rushed for a season-high 221 yards, the most in a game this season and the most since rushing for 229 against ODU last season.
  • The 27 points scored by Virginia were the most surrendered by W&M this season. The Tribe came into the contest ranked No. 2 in FCS in scoring defense (10.6 ppg). 
  • UVA held William & Mary without a point for the final 42 minutes of the game. It was the first second-half shutout since Virginia held Georgia Tech scoreless in the second half last season.
  • The victory snapped UVA’s eight-game winless streak and is the first win since defeating Georgia Tech on the road on Oct. 20, 2022.
  • Virginia has won six-straight games and 12 of the last 13 meetings against William & Mary. Virginia is 32-6-1 all-time against W&M in a series that was first played in 1908.
  • UVA held William & Mary to 72 yards passing, the lowest UVA opponent total since limiting the Tribe to 89 yards passing in the 2021 meeting.

Player Notes 

  • Quarterback Tony Muskett was 17-for-26 with 232 yards passing and three total touchdowns (2 pass, 1 rush). The rushing score was his first as a Cavalier. It was his sixth career rushing TD and first since Oct. 1, 2022 against Lehigh. 
  • The 200-yard passing performance by Muskett was his second in as many weeks and the 19th of his career.
  • Running back Perris Jones ran for a career-high 134 yards on 12 carries (11.2 ypc). It was the first 100-yard rushing effort by a Cavalier since both Jones and Brennan Armstrong went over the 100-yard mark in the season opener against Richmond last season. His 43-yard rush in fourth quarter was a career long.
  • Wide receiver Malik Washington recorded his fourth 100-yard receiving effort in his last six games. His 27-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter put him over 100 yards for the day and 2,000 yards for his career (1,348 at Northwestern). He has four touchdowns in his last three games five for the season.
  • Washington extended his consecutive games with a reception streak to 31 games with a 17-yard reception in the second quarter.
  • Washington, who came into the contest as the ACC’s leading receiver, now has 44 receptions for 668 yards and four touchdowns in six games as a Cavalier.
  • Malachi Fields scored the go-ahead touchdown with :07 seconds remaining in the first half, his third career receiving touchdown. It marked the second-straight week Muskett and Fields have connected for a score in the final 10 seconds of the first half.
  • Will Bettridge has made seven-straight field goals and was successful from 45 and 37 in the contest. The 45-yarder in the first quarter was the second longest of his career. He is 6-for-7 in attempts from between 40 and 50 yards in his career.
  • Freshman Kam Robinson led the Cavaliers with a season-high 12 tackles. It marks his second-double-digit tackle effort of the season. The 12 stops are the most by a UVA true freshman linebacker since Ahmad Brooks (12 tackles) in the 2003 Continental Tire Bowl against Pitt.