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Bronco Mendenhall names Matt Johns as new Virginia starting quarterback

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With just two games remaining, the senior quarterback will get his first start of the season.

Virginia v Wake Forest Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

After being stuck in neutral the last two weeks, the Virginia offense will turn back to a familiar face in hopes of a jumpstart. Cavalier head coach Bronco Mendenhall announced on Monday during his weekly press conference that senior quarterback Matt Johns will be Virginia’s starter against Georgia Tech on Saturday. Johns will take the place of junior Kurt Benkert, who he replaced late in Virginia’s 34-14 loss to Miami.

Johns led Virginia’s offense effectively in limited time against the Hurricanes. He was 3 for 7 for 64 yards, but three of his passes were dropped by receivers. Johns’s 44-yard strike to Doni Dowling and 23-yard pass to Taquan Mizzell provided a spark for his teammates in the closing minutes of the game. “His teammates were cheering hard for him, as were his coaches,” Mendenhall said.

After splitting time with Greyson Lambert in 2014, Johns started all 12 games for Virginia in 2015. Johns competed with Benkert and senior Connor Brewer for the starting job in fall camp, a competition that Benkert won outright. Johns has started 15 games and thrown for 3,996 yards in his Cavalier career.

Mendenhall cited Johns’s loyalty to the program as one of the reasons for starting him against Georgia Tech.