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Virginia’s Kurt Benkert has been red hot this season

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Could he be a Heisman contender next year?

Virginia v Oregon Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Nearing the halfway mark of Virginia’s football season, one constant among the varied performance of both the Cavalier offense and defense has been the play of quarterback Kurt Benkert. Despite not starting a game in his college career prior to this season, the ECU transfer has met or exceeded expectations so far.

Against Duke, Benkert threw for over 300 yards and 3+ TDs after accomplishing that feat against Central Michigan the week before. Even former Cavalier great Matt Schuab only had three such games during his UVA career. Benkert’s 421 passing yards against Central Michigan was a school record, while last week’s 336 passing yards checked in as the 14th best for a Virginia QB. Benkert is the only QB in the country with 2 pass plays of over 82 yards this season.

It’s not just passing yards -- Benkert’s been finding room in the endzone as well. To date, Benkert has already thrown 13 touchdowns, which ranks him 13th in the country and third in the ACC, behind Heisman hopefuls Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson. If he throws just two more touchdowns, he will have more TDs in a year than any UVA quarterback had during the 2004-2014 seasons.

With three straight home games coming up for Virginia, fans will be looking to Benkert to stay hot during this bye week. His QB rating so far of 136.7 is the highest in a season of any QB with minimum of 175 attempts since Schaub posted 140+ ratings in 2002 and 2003.

Virginia is back in action on October 15 against Pitt at 12:30 p.m. in Scott Stadium for Homecomings.