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FINAL: UVA 49, Central Michigan 35

Fast start paces Virginia to first win of 2016 season

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia football is off the schneid in 2016, picking up a win over Central Michigan, 49 to 35.

The first half was all Virginia as the Hoos darted out to a quick 28-0 lead. The Cavaliers scored on almost every possession, punting for the first time with just 2:42 left in the half.

Virginia's special teams had a slightly different look for the extra point tries, lining up for the kick, sliding over for the conversion, and then ultimately either going for two or lining back up. Virginia converted a two-point attempt to make it 15-0, but Alex Furbank missed the extra point after the third touchdown to bring it to just 21-0.

After Central Michigan forced Virginia’s first punt late in the second quarter, Chippewas QB Cooper Rush burned UVA’s Myles Robinson, who bit on a double move and allowed an 85-yard catch-and-sprint by Corey Willis. CMU required just two downs and 16 seconds to hit the long TD and make the score 28-14 Hoos.

CMU scored the only points of the third quarter by running back an interception. Defensive back Amari Coleman jumped a screen pass and had nothing but green turf in front of him to pull the Chips within 7, 28-21.

Rush and Willis opened the fourth quarter with another TD connection, leveling the score at 28 and putting momentum squarely on the side of the visiting team.

But Kurt Benkert and Olamide Zaccheaus snatched momentum right back. An 82-yard TD pass to the Wizard of OZ cracked the Virginia record books as the 5th longest pass play in program history and put UVA back in front, 35-28. The Hoos forced a CMU 3-and-out on the next possession, then marched 73 yards to score again. Benkert’s fourth TD pass of the game found Albert Reid from five yards out to stake Virginia to a 14-point lead with five minutes to play.

Kareem Gibson picked off a deep pass from Rush on CMU’s next drive, effectively sealing the Cavaliers’ first victory under Bronco Mendenhall. Another Benkert TD pass, this one 53 yards to Taquan Mizzell, and a late CMU touchdown run rounded out the scoring.

Virginia travels to Duke next week. Stay tuned to Streaking the Lawn for more analysis of the win!