A shootout in Provo, the Virginia Cavaliers fell 49-66 to No. 25 BYU Cougars in a game that was wild from the beginning. When the team gives up 66 points, what everyone should be talking about is the giant question mark around and behind this team’s defense. Instead, tonight it’s the unknown future of quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who had a spectacular night until he exited the game with an apparent rib injury.
Following an interception early in the fourth quarter, Armstrong immediately looked to the sideline and mouthed repeatedly, “it’s broken,” pointing to his left ribs. He would leave the game not to return.
It couldn’t have been any worse of a start for Virginia, whose opening drive found seven yards for a quick 3-and-out. I’ll save you a little pain instead of a deep-dive recap of what ensued. Instead, know that the UVA defense gave up big plays (52-yard, 14-yard, 15-yard passes followed by a 2-yard TD run), Brennan threw an interception that led to a touchdown, and then more bad beats from the UVA defense for another touchdown.
It hadn’t even been seven minutes of game time before the Cougars ran the score up 21-0.
But the Virginia offense would eventually settle in, answering with a methodical drive to take it 75 yards in 12 plays and get on the board.
...and the rest of the first half was a wild ride you just had to see. Virginia’s offense didn’t just settle in. They cranked it up to 11. They would score on the next five straight possessions to close out the half on six TDs in six possessions. The defense also contributed to a comeback effort, giving up two more TDs and a FG, forcing two key punts along the way.
The second half, though, was all BYU. The Cougars came out of the gates hot — four plays and 75 yards to get the touchdown on the first drive of the second half. Meanwhile, Virginia was forced to punt on a 3-and-out. Other than the final possession to end the game, BYU would score on each of their five possessions of the second half: four TDs and a field goal. The Hoos’ possessions ended in: Punt, TD, Fumble, Interception, Turnover on Downs.
This, however, was a highlight from Dontayvion Wicks coming out of the third quarter:
Before leaving the game with the rib injury, Armstrong put up a total of 431 yards, including going 22-of-34 for 337 passing yards and 94 rushing yards. He threw four touchdowns to two interceptions and ran in another two on his own. He also overtook Bryce Perkins as the program’s all-time leader in single-season passing yards.
Whether his ribs are actually broken or whether Armstrong would be back, Bronco Mendenhall wasn’t able to give any updates following the game. He did say, however, that the injury would likely force the Hoos to change their approach to practice as they approach a bye week in advance of the Notre Dame contest.
True freshman Jay Woolfolk came in to finish out the game with 7:16 remaining. He only led the one desperation drive, completing two of five passes for 35 yards and rushing for an additional six yards on two carries.
The Hoos have two weeks to figure out what next steps are before they’ll face No. 11 Notre Dame in Charlottesville. Virginia’s now 6-3 (4-2 ACC) on the season and, with Pitt’s 38-34 loss to Miami, continues to control its own destiny in the Coastal Division.
Here are your game highlights: