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Virginia drops primetime contest to Notre Dame in 28-3 blowout

The ‘Hoos had nothing going offensively and couldn’t stop the Irish on the other side of the ball.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With Brennan Armstrong out due to his rib injury, the Virginia Cavaliers had little to no chance of beating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as the tenth ranked team in the country won comfortably 28-3.

In the Fighting Irish’s first drive of the game the Wahoo defense put up a surprisingly strong front as Virginia bent but wouldn’t break. After 12 plays for 54 yards, the Notre Dame offense failed to convert a 4th and 1 on the UVA 21-yard line and handed the ball over to the Cavaliers.

A quick three and out from the ‘Hoos sent the ball right on back to the Fighting Irish after a shanked Jacob Finn punt that only went for a measly 14 yards gave Notre Dame fantastic field position at the Virginia 43-yard line.

Jack Coan and his offense converted on the Wahoos’ mistake shortly thereafter. Coan found Michael Mayer in the end zone for a six yard score, putting the Irish up 7-0 with 4:53 remaining in the first quarter.

The next Virginia offensive possession was much of the same as a pair of penalties and a sack doomed any potential for Jay Woolfolk to get in an early groove.

The Notre Dame offense was efficient once again on its following possession as a 26-yard run from Logan Diggs set up another score when Coan dished a four-yarder to Braden Lenzy to extend the Irish’s lead to 14.

UVA finally got its first first down of the game and strung together a decent 10 play, 49-yard drive on the following possession. But, Jay Woolfolk came up two yards short on 4th and 12 from the Notre Dame 30-yard line and turned the ball back over to the Irish without putting any points on the board.

In what had become typical fashion, Notre Dame made quick work of the Wahoo defense as Kyren Williams rattled off a 22-yard touchdown run to make the contest a three possession game and start to bury any dreams of a Virginia comeback.

An interception thrown by Woolfolk on the ensuing drive dashed those hopes even further as UVA failed to put points on the board before the end of the first half.

To open the second half the ‘Hoos were able to drive down into Irish territory as — on three consecutive plays — Woolfolk hit Dontayvion Wicks for 15 yards, Wicks again for 17, and then Billy Kemp IV for 19. That brought Virginia down to the Notre Dame 20-yard line. But, two incompletions and a sack meant that Brendan Farrell took the field to attempt a 44-yard field goal.

Unfortunately for UVA faithful everywhere, Farrell failed to put Virginia on the board and turned the ball over to the Irish with the score still at 21-0.

The Cavaliers would get a big play from Anthony Johnson as the Louisville transfer picked off Coan two plays later to breathe life back into the UVA sideline. But, the Virginia offense couldn’t do anything with that momentum and punted the ball back to Notre Dame with 9:16 left in the third.

The ‘Hoos forced a rare Notre Dame punt on the following drive. Yet, once again, the Virginia offense couldn’t take advantage and turned the ball over on downs at the Irish 28-yard line.

Notre Dame proceeded to drive down the field and put the first points of the half up on the board as Kevin Austin Jr. reeled in a difficult back corner of the end zone touchdown catch to put the score at 28-0.

Woolfolk and his offense would finally put together a scoring possession on the next drive as the true freshman quarterback found Keytaon Thompson for an 11-yard gain and then again for 28. That would set Farrell up for redemption as the UVA kicker split the uprights on a 34-yarder to give Wahoo fans something to cheer about.

The Irish drove right back down the field after that. But, a fumble from Tyler Bucnher recovered by Noah Taylor on the Wahoo eight-yard line held Notre Dame at 28 points with 8:13 left in regulation.

Of course, the Virginia offense couldn’t muster up anything to tack on to that fumble recovery and Jacob Finn came back on the field for punting duties.

A turnover on downs from the Irish meant that Woolfolk had one more chance to impress as he drove the ‘Hoos down to the Notre Dame 25-yard line. But, his second interception of the game would cap off a disappointing night for Virginia as Notre Dame took a knee to close out the game, winning 28-3.

The ‘Hoos will now look ahead to their contest at Pittsburgh next week in hopes of winning the ACC Coastal.