Nov 14, 2020; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Brennan Armstrong (5) celebrates after scoring a touchdown as Louisville Cardinals linebacker Dorian Etheridge (17) and Cardinals defensive back Russ Yeast (3) look on in the fourth quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

Virginia focuses on itself as Abilene Christian visits

Coach Bronco Mendenhall said his Virginia Cavaliers are preparing for Saturday’s game against FCS opponent Abilene Christian the same way they would prepare for No. 1 Alabama.

“The focus is on us,” he told reporters Monday. “That’s just the core philosophy that I have kind of extracted from John Wooden. Have the focus entirely be on us. The context is the next game. … There’s very little attention that we put on the next opponent. The focus is only on us.”

The contest in Charlottesville, Va., is the first meeting between the host Cavaliers (3-4) and Abilene Christian (1-4), a member of the Southland Conference.

The Wildcats from Abilene, Texas, are Virginia’s “plus one” on a schedule that includes 10 ACC games plus one nonconference contest. It will be their first game ever inside the state of Virginia.

Virginia has won two in a row, following up a 44-41 win against then-No. 15 North Carolina on Oct. 31 with a 31-17 win at home Saturday against Louisville.

Brennan Armstrong passed for 203 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 60 yards and two scores in the victory over Louisville, his third game this season with at least 200 passing yards, 40 rushing yards, while accounting for at least three touchdowns.

The UVA defense gave up 478 yards, including 317 on the ground (197 by Cardinals QB Malik Cunningham), but the Cavaliers also forced three turnovers and had four sacks.

“We call them havoc plays,” Mendenhall said of his team’s nine sacks and five takeaways in the past two games. “We’ve learned more about the identity of this particular team, this particular defense. We’re learning to manage specific players in this very unique year. … And it’s starting to show results — and at a good time with this stretch run coming down.”

Abilene Christian hasn’t played since a 34-21 loss to Angelo State on Nov. 7. Its game last weekend against Arizona Christian was canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the opponent’s program.

Peyton Mansell has completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 1,109 yards with five touchdowns and three picks for the Wildcats. Lionell McConnell has a team-high 31 catches for 299 yards and Jermiah Dobbins has rushed for 221 yards and five scores. Fourth-year head coach Adam Dorrel’s ACU defense is allowing 31.6 points and 402.4 yards per game.

Dorrel talked about the chance to test his program against a Power 5 school earlier this season.

“I think it’s going to be exciting for our student-athletes and our donors,” Dorrel told the Abilene Reporter News. “Obviously, (Virginia) had a really good last year in the ACC. So, it’s a huge challenge for us. … But our guys are just excited to play.”

Virginia suffered a few injuries against Louisville, with wide receiver Tavares Kelly Jr., tight end Tony Poljan and offensive lineman Dillon Reinkensmeyer all exiting the game. Multi-threat quarterback Keytaon Thompson was held out for what Mendenhall called a “private matter,” but is expected to play this week. Starting safeties Joey Blount and Brenton Nelson have not played since the Oct. 17 loss at Wake Forest.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

Upcoming Games

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

Hawaii

UCLA

@

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

Southern Utah

San Jose State (24)

@

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

Nebraska

Illinois

@

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

UCONN

Fresno State

@

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

UTEP

New Mexico State

@

Sep 1st, 3:33 PM

Jacksonville State

UAB

@

Sep 2nd, 12:00 PM

East Carolina

Appalachian State

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

LIU

Florida International (FIU)

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Weber State

Utah

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Southern Utah

Arizona State

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Western Illinois

Ball State (23)

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

North Carolina (18)

Virginia Tech

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

USF

NC State

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

UC Davis

Tulsa

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Ohio State (2)

Minnesota

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Houston Baptist

New Mexico

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Eastern Washington

UNLV

@

Sep 3rd, 3:33 PM

Northern Colorado

Colorado

@

Sep 3rd, 3:33 PM

St. Francis-PA

Eastern Michigan

@

Sep 3rd, 3:33 PM

Old Dominion

Wake Forest

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Clemson (3)

Georgia (7)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Duke

Charlotte

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

The Citadel

Coastal Carolina (14)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Florida Atlantic

Florida (13)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Central Michigan

Missouri

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Colgate

Boston College

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Montana

Washington

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Northern Iowa

Iowa State (9)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Louisiana-Monroe

Kentucky

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Bowling Green

Tennessee

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Fresno State

Oregon

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Eastern Illinois

South Carolina

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Army

Georgia State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

East Tennessee State

Vanderbilt

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Kansas State

Stanford

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Kent State

Texas A&M (4)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Akron

Auburn

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Utah State

Washington State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Southern University

Troy

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Rice

Arkansas

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

NIU

Georgia Tech

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Nevada

California

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Missouri State

Oklahoma State (20)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

LA Tech

Mississippi State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Monmouth-New Jersey

Middle Tennessee

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

San Jose State (24)

USC (21)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Southern Miss

South Alabama

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Northwestern State

North Texas

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Louisiana-Lafayette (15)

Texas (19)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Wagner

Buffalo (25)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Baylor

Texas State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Syracuse

Ohio

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Alabama (1)

Miami-FL (22)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Duquesne

TCU

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Central Arkansas

Arkansas State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Norfolk State

Toledo

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

LSU

UCLA

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Arizona

BYU (11)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Bethune-Cookman

UTEP

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Campbell

Liberty (17)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Tennessee-Martin

WKU

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Miami-OH

Cincinnati (8)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Holy Cross

UCONN

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Houston

Texas Tech

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Nicholls State

Memphis

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Massachusetts

Pittsburgh

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Boise State

UCF

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

William & Mary

Virginia

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

South Dakota

Kansas

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Abilene Christian

SMU

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Marshall

Navy

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Oklahoma (6)

Tulane

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

UTSA

Illinois

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

New Mexico State

San Diego State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Portland State

Hawaii

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Indiana (12)

Iowa (16)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

West Virginia

Maryland

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Western Michigan

Michigan

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Michigan State

Northwestern (10)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Lafayette

Air Force

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Montana State

Wyoming

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Oregon State

Purdue

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Temple

Rutgers

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Penn State

Wisconsin

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

South Dakota State

Colorado State

@

Sep 4th, 6:00 PM

Gardner-Webb

Georgia Southern

@