Virginia's abysmal football season finally comes to a close this year as fans wait with abated breath to see what the coaching situation is going to look like during the off-season and heading into 2010. Against Virginia Tech this week, the Cavaliers have very little to play for, as the 'Hoos will finish with the third losing season in four years, and the first back-to-back losing seasons in 26 years. However, for the thirty seniors who will suit up in the Virginia jersey one last time at Scott Stadium, this game may as well be the Orange Bowl.
The Hokies have won 9 of the past 10 meetings between the two teams. This lopsided record has happened only one other time in the series, from 1953-1963 when the Hokies won 10 of 11. A loss today would match that record.
But the Cavaliers are determined not to let that happen.
"There's nothing after this, as far as college football, for us, so this is a bowl game," senior cornerback / quarterback / wide receiver / all-star Vic Hall said. "It's a one game season right now, because this is the last game of the season for us, and our career here, so this is the biggest game of our career."
"Beating Virginia Tech might be better than any 6-win bowl game we were going to end up in anyway," senior defensive lineman Nate Collins added. "It's going to be the last time for guys to play football, last time to play with this group, with this combination again. You have nothing to lose out there Saturday, so why not play every game like it's your last, because for some people it is."
If there's anything we've learned this season, especially throughout the Clemson game, it's that regardless of what disgruntled fans, media, alumni and other nay-sayers may think, this Virginia squad never says die. On the field, they are 100% behind their coach, and so if this game turns out to be Groh's swan song as is expected by most, you can bet your mortgage that the Wahoos are coming out of that tunnel -- for the seniors, one last time -- blazing.
Today's piece is less a focus on how terrible human beings the Hokies are (Am I right here??), but instead, a tribute to our thirty seniors who will succeed in all their future endeavors. To these thirty seniors, Wahoo Nation Thanks You!
Will Barker: Captain, OT, Bryn Mawr, Pa. Slated to make his 49th career start today, which ties for the second longest in UVa history, and is currently second among all ACC players. Second team preseason All-ACC by Phil Steele's College Football Preview magazine.
Denzel Burrell: Captain, LB, South Orange, N.J.
B.J. Cabbell: G, Roseland, Va.
Isaac Cain: G/T, Hampton, Va.
Darnell Carter: LB, Englewood, NJ.
Daniel Childress: LB, Franklin, Va.
Darren Childs: LB, San Diego, Calif. Ranks 2nd on the team in tackles with 75, and is having his best season as a Cavalier this year. Tied for 14th in the ACC this year in tackles (6.8/game). Prior to the BC game, Childs had three straight games with at least 10 tackles.
Aaron Clark: Captain, LB, Fairfield, Va. "This is our last go-around, and regardless if this is going to be our 4th win, or our 12th win, you have to approach it the same way. It's got to be the biggest game of the season, and I feel like it's going to be, with the atmosphere, and a rivalry game, and all the good stuff and all the circus acts that come along with this game."
Nate Collins: Captain, DE, Port Chester, N.Y. Third on the team with 70 tackles, which is tied for 24th all-time in a single season for a defensive lineman at UVa. Collins needs three tackles to tie for 22nd and four to reach 16th. Collins had a streak of three straight games with at least nine tackles (including 16 against Georgia Tech) broken three weeks ago at Miami. He was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week following the Maryland and Georgia Tech games. Nate Collins has the most tackles among ACC defensive linemen.
Chris Cook: Captain, CB, Lynchburg, Va. Six career INTs. Cook made his 30th career start last week – third most on the team.
John-Kevin Dolce: NT, Bayshore, N.Y.
Patch Duda: WR, Kenilworth, Ill.
Vic Hall: Captain, CB/WR/QB, Gretna, Va. I don't know what else really needs to be said about this guy, other than that I hope he is a first round pick in the draft. He has gotten the ball into the endzone four different ways and is looking for more today. I can't even imagine a season without him. Here's the Virginia Athletics highlights reel on him, which doesn't include this year's successes.
And here's a local news channel piece on Do-it-all Vic Hall:
Raynard Horne: WR, Baltimore, Md.
Rashawn Jackson: FB, Jersey City, N.J. Leads the team with 445 rushing yards this year, more than tripling his first two years combined.
Brandon Jarvis: CB, Fairfield, Va.
Staton Jobe: WR, Austin, Texas. Former walk-on who earned his scholarship during his time at UVa.
Matt Leemhuis: S, Bethesda, Md.
Zach Mendez-Zfass: WR, Richmond, Va.
Mike Parker: CB, Orlando, Fla.
Nathan Rathjen: P, Lovettsville, Va.
Jameel Sewell: QB, Richmond, Va. At third on the all-time UVa passing charts, Sewell has 5,246 career passing yards. He is also fourth in career total offense, at 5,788. He needs 271 yards to move into third. He is one of just six Cavaliers to have 10 or more 200+ passing yard games. He had gone 145 consecutive passes without throwing an INT -- at the time, the fifth-longest current streak in the nation.
Jack Shields: C, Duxbury, Mass.
Mikell Simpson: TB, Harrisburg, Pa. 26 receptions on the year. Injuries have kept him from performing at 100% of what Wahoo Nation has come to expect from him, but Virginia fans everywhere get a chill up their spine any time they see this beast on the field, as fans know that if you don't keep at least three eyes on him, he's going to come through with a big play. Add to this that he's a stand-up guy who not only gives the program no problems off the field, but is downright a leader and inspiration to his community, and you've got someone who's going to be hard to replace next year. Simpson offers words for the youth:
Patrick Slebonick: G, Stafford, Va. ESPN the Magazine's Academic All-District III.
Joe Torchia: TE, Cold Spring, N.Y. Two TD receptions on the year. The first came against Duke, which marked the first TD reception by a TE since Wake Forest last year (surprising considering that Coach Al Groh uses TEs more than any other coach in the country). The second came off a 5-yard pass from Vic Hall off the reverse option.
Marc Verica: QB, Lansdowne. Pa. Last year Verica started nine games in a row in weeks 3-11 and led the team in passing with 2,037 yards, sixth-most by a first-time starter.
Matt Weiler: DB, Fairfax Station, Va.
Trey Womack: CB, Springfield, Pa. Blocked a Miami punt which led to Virginia's first TD off a blocked punt since 2002.
Brandon Woods: S, Durham, N.C.