The Virginia Cavaliers won the game against Abilene Christian, but may have lost a huge piece as senior linebacker Charles Snowden was injured in the 55-15 victory on Saturday afternoon. Snowden sustained an ankle injury in the first quarter and immediately headed to the locker room for treatment. He returned to the sidelines in the third quarter on crutches and with his ankle heavily wrapped.
Snowden wasn’t the only one to deal with injury in the game as Nick Grant, Nusi Malani, and D’Angelo Amos all left the field at some point during the game. Both Grant and Snowden had their ankles rolled up on by teammates on nearly back-to-back plays, with the latter unable to put any weight on it as he came off the field. Grant, thankfully, came back a couple plays later.
As was expected, Virginia dominated the outmatched Wildcats. The Cavaliers’ passing game was on fire as Brennan Armstrong racked up 383 yards and four touchdowns in the air before he was replaced with Lindell Stone with 5:29 left in the third quarter. Five different receivers hauled in a touchdown for the Hoos, including scoring pass plays of 90, 56, 52, and 28 yards. Lindell Armstrong added one passing touchdown in the fourth quarter, finding Demick Starling for his first career touchdown reception as a Hoo.
Virginia out-gained ACU 518-340 in the game, and averaged 8.4 yards per play. With the win, Virginia is back at .500 on the season with a 4-4 record and has won three straight after going through a four-game losing streak.
Tight end Tony Poljan broke the 0-0 stalemate with a 28-yard reception with 4:30 to play in the first quarter. Poljan, who missed the entire second half of the Louisville game last week after taking a nasty hit to the head, finished the game with 77 yards and a touchdown on five receptions.
After another punt by ACU, Armstrong needed just one beautiful deep ball to Davis to double Virginia’s lead. Armstrong hit Davis in stride just shy of the 50-yard line, and the lanky first year did the rest himself as he effortlessly pulled away from the defender for a 90-yard touchdown, the longest reception in the ACC this season.
Shane Simpson added one of his two rushing TDs on the day on Virginia’s next possession, and it looked like the Hoos built a 28-0 lead with a pick-six from Amos. The defensive back was flagged for a weak defensive pass interference penalty, however, and ACU took advantage of the extended possession with a 14 play, 75-yard, and 7:23 minute touchdown drive.
Virginia got the ball back with just 30 seconds left before the half, but Armstrong orchestrated a touchdown scoring drive to perfection. Billy Kemp picked up 40 of the 64 yards needed by the Hoos, and Simpson made the most of an untimed down (thanks to pass interference in the end zone with no time left) with another one-yard touchdown rush.
The Wildcats got the ball out of the halftime break, but only gained seven yards on five plays before punting back to the Hoos. Keytaon Thompson, Virginia’s backup quarterback-turned-do-it-all-player avoided tackles near the line of scrimmage and rattled off a 56-yard touchdown “reception” (the pass was about two feet by Armstrong).
Later in the third quarter, Offensive Coordinator Robert Anae pulled out the flea flicker for the fourth passing touchdown of the game as Thompson dished it back to Armstrong for a 52-yard connection with Ra’Shaun Henry. The completion was Henry’s third catch and third touchdown of the season.
Virginia’s starters made way for the reserves near the end of the third quarter, and the Hoos executed a 17-play, 69-yard, and 10:58 minute drive. ACU would add a touchdown with 1:26 left in garbage time, but missed the extra point after a coordinated celebration in the end zone backed the kick up. In a real head-scratching moment, Virginia tried a trick play deep in their own territory instead of just kneeling to run out the final 30 seconds of the game, and Abilene Christian sacked Stone in the end zone for a safety.
The wackiness wasn’t done yet. Abilene Christian got it down to the Virginia 16-yard line with seven seconds left on the clock. Trying to score one more time, ACU’s quarterback Peyton Mansell’s pass was tipped, and D’Sean Perry returned the pick 84 yards for the touchdown as time expired.
Next week, the Hoos head to Tallahassee for a matchup against Florida State. Game time and channel have not yet been released. Florida State did not play this week after Clemson had an offensive lineman test positive for the coronavirus after practicing all week.