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Remembering the Good Times: The Top 5 Moments of the Mike London Era

Mike London's tenure may not have gone as well as hoped, but there were still bright spots on the journey worth revisiting.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

With his resignation on Sunday morning, Mike London's six year reign as head coach of Virginia football came to a close. With just a 27-45 record overall (14-34 in ACC play), London's time at the helm never reached the heights many thought it could. Despite this, London always served as a great representative of The University and delivered a number of moments that brought joy to Cavalier fans everywhere. Here we revisit the Top 5 moments of Mike London's time in Charlottesville:

Honorable Mention: September 8, 2012. Virginia 17, Penn State 16.
Fresh off the lone bowl appearance of London's six years (more on that later), UVa entered the 2012 season with high expectations. After a rout of Richmond in Week 1, the Hoos hosted Penn State in one the most highly anticipated home games in recent memory. While the game was a sloppy affair, with Virginia turning the ball over four times, Mike Rocco found Jake McGee in the end zone with 1:28 left to give the Hoos the lead. The game wasn't over, however, until Penn State kicker Sam Ficken missed his fourth field goal of the day as time expired, giving UVa a win over one of college football's premier programs.

#5: November 10, 2012. Virginia 41, Miami 40.
This wasn't the most prestigious win of the past six years, but it was certainly the most dramatic. The Hoos and the Canes engaged in an offensive shootout, combining for over 870 yards and 11 touchdowns. Virginia had most of their success through the air, with Mike Rocco and Philip Sims teaming up to complete 40 passes for 388 yards and 4 touchdowns. Despite their prolific passing, the Hoos trailed Miami with 2:38 to play and the ball at their own 13 yard line. With Rocco leading the charge, the Cavaliers marched down the field for a game-winning drive capped off by a brilliant Jake McGee catch in the back of the end zone with only six seconds remaining. The win was the Hoos third straight over Miami.

#4: December 31, 2011. Auburn 43, Virginia 24. 
Yes I know Virginia lost, by a lot. Still UVa's mere presence in this game seemed at the time to signify that the Cavaliers were on the upswing. The Hoos were playing in their first bowl game since 2007 and found themselves facing the defending national champion Auburn Tigers. While UVa held an early 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter, the Cavaliers were unable to stop Auburn's offensive attack and ultimately fell to the SEC powerhouse. While the bowl appearance didn't mark the turning point many thought it would, making it there was still an impressive achievement.

#3: February 5, 2014. National Signing Day.
Throughout his time at Virginia, Mike London was lauded for his ability to attract some of the best talent in the state to Charlottesville. In 2014 London outdid himself, landing two five-star recruits in DT Andrew Brown and S Quin Blanding. UVa had gotten only two five-star commitments total in the previous nine years, and with Brown and Blanding, Virginia joined Alabama and Texas A&M as the only schools with two recruits ranked in the top 10 nationally. While Brown's career at UVa has gotten off to a slow start, Blanding has emerged as one of the top safeties in the country and was named to the All-ACC first team for the 2015 season.

#2: October 15, 2011. Virginia 24, #12 Georgia Tech 21.
As time has passed, many Virginia fans seem to have forgotten how momentous this win was at the time. Georgia Tech was 6-0 coming into Charlottesville and the win marked UVa's first over a top-15 team since defeating #4 Florida State in 2005. To make matters even sweeter, Virginia won by dominating a Georgia Tech defense that was coordinated by former UVa head coach Al Groh. The Hoos ran the ball 47 times for an astounding 274 yards, with lead back Perry Jones averaging 8.3 yards per carry. Groh would be relieved of his duties at Georgia Tech less than a year later.

#1: November 19, 2011. Virginia 14, #25 Florida State 13.
There was never a doubt as to what would take the top spot on this list. This is still UVa's only win in program history in Tallahassee and the victory set up a season-ending showdown with Virginia Tech with the ACC Coastal on the line (no comment as to how that game went). UVa remains the last ACC team to beat Florida State in their stadium, with the Seminoles having won their last 16 home conference contests. Even the refs couldn't beat the Hoos on this night, as some beyond questionable officiating late in the game that gave Seminole kicker Dustin Hopkins a game-winning 42 yard field goal attempt. The kick sailed wide with just three seconds remaining and the Hoos emerged victorious.