The Virginia Cavaliers got a big 31-17 win over Louisville on Saturday afternoon, and the Hoos got a big game out of Noah Taylor. The third year linebacker finished with five tackles, but his biggest play of the game came on the first Louisville drive.
Facing a 3rd-and-13 from the Virginia 16-yard line, Louisville QB Malik Cunningham saw the blitz coming and tried to drop the ball to his receiver 10 yards away. Instead, the 6-6 Taylor stepped in front of the ball and returned it 85 yards to the house for the first points of the game.
Per the postgame notes from Virginia, Taylor’s big play has put his name in a few record books:
- It was the longest interception return in the ACC this season.
- It was the third-longest interception return in FBS this season.
- It was the third-longest interception return in UVA history (tied with Nick Grant’s 85-yard return vs. William & Mary in 2019).
- It was the longest interception return by a linebacker in UVA history.
- It is tied for the longest interception return by a linebacker in FBS this season (Kentucky’s Jamin Davis).
Coach Mendenhall had high praise for his third year linebacker:
"That play was just a critical turn of events to kind of recapture the momentum we were hoping to orchestrate, despite our decision at the beginning of the game." @UVACoachBronco on Noah Taylor's (@7_ntaylor) 85-yard INT touchdown ⚔️ #GoHoos— Virginia Football (@UVAFootball) November 15, 2020
Louisville would take a 10-7 lead in the second quarter, but Virginia retook the lead on an 8-yard rushing touchdown with just over six minutes left in the first half. In the second half, the Cavalier defense limited Louisville to just seven points and forced two fumbles.
For his efforts, Taylor got to Break the Rock:
Don’t forget that you can now rep the Hoos’ post game tradition by getting your own officially licensed BREAK THE ROCK tee-shirt!
Next up, Virginia hosts Abilene Christian on Saturday at 4pm.