Virginia wins third straight, pounds Abilene Christian
Brennan Armstrong passed for a career-high 383 yards and four touchdowns, including a 90-yarder to Lavel Davis Jr., and Virginia rolled to a 55-15 non-conference win over Abilene Christian on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va.
The Cavaliers (4-4) won their third straight game to get back to .500, outgaining the Wildcats (1-5) of the Football Championship Subdivision by a 518-340 margin.
Abilene Christian made a surprise move by starting freshman quarterback Stone Earle, who had only thrown two passes all season. He completed 19 of 31 passes for 150 yards and one touchdown.
Entering as 39.5-point favorites against the Texas school from the Southland Conference, Virginia sputtered to just 27 total yards on its first two drives before finding its rhythm.
The Cavaliers scored touchdowns on each of their next six possessions, including four TD passes by Armstrong and a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs by Shane Simpson.
Virginia ended the first quarter with touchdown receptions on back-to-back offensive snaps, a 30-yard grab by Tony Poljan and a 90-yard catch-and-run by the true freshman Davis.
ACU got on the board with a 14-play, 75-yard drive, pulling within 21-7 on Earle’s 2-yard pass to Kobe Clark 30 seconds before halftime.
But 30 seconds was all UVA needed. The Cavs went 64 yards in six plays and took a 28-7 halftime lead on Simpson’s second score of the quarter.
More big plays and quick strikes followed for Virginia to start the third quarter. Keytaon Thompson caught a short pass from Armstrong, spun through traffic and raced 56 yards to the house. On his next (and final) snap, Armstrong hooked up with Ra’Shaun Henry for a 52-yard score and a 42-7 lead.
In the fourth, backup QB Lindell Stone made it 49-7 with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Demick Starling.
Peyton Mansell scored on a 2-yard run for Abilene Christian with 1:26 left, and the Wildcats tacked on a late safety before Virginia’s D’Sean Perry scored on an 84-yard interception return on the game’s final play.
Virginia lost star linebacker Charles Snowden to a serious injury to his lower right leg early in the first quarter. He came into the game on a tear, registering 21 tackles, nine tackles for loss and six sacks in his previous three games.
It was the final game of the season for the Wildcats. The Cavaliers return to Atlantic Coast Conference action next Saturday at Florida State.
–Field Level Media