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Notebook: Slumping Cavaliers turn attention to bowl game

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All that’s left is a trip to a bowl game for Virginia.

The Cavaliers have lost their last four, including back-to-back heartbreaking setbacks against Pittsburgh last week, which put the Hoos out of Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division title contention, and to rival Virginia Tech on Saturday.

“It’s a sour taste,” UVa quarterback Brennan Armstrong said. “This was an important one to us.”

But the Cavaliers’ season isn’t over even though their most important games of the year are behind them.

Armstrong and UVa coach Bronco Mendenhall said the Cavaliers still have aspirations to finish the year with a win.

“We got a little bit more time on our hands to bounce back,” Armstrong said, “which can be handled different ways. With a game such as this right after Pitt, you have to bounce back. We have a little bit more time on our hands.

“I think we just try to forget about it, we have time, people have to deal with it, but we have a lot of time for that. Once we get back practicing, I think we’re just going to be excited to play at a new venue against a different team. We’ve got to get this last one. We have to at this point. We’ve got to end the season on a good note.”

Said Mendenhall: “It takes time just like any anything, especially when you put a lot into it and you come up short. Bowl games matter, and playing them every year matters, and winning them matters and that’ll be the next thing.”

Some potential destinations include the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md., the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, the Pinstripe Bowl in New York and the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte.

Record-setting efforts

Both Armstrong and wide receiver Dontayion Wicks set records during the Cavaliers’ loss to the Hokies.

Armstrong set the Commonwealth Cup record for passing yards with 405, and also set the school single-season record for total offense — a mark previously held by former quarterback Bryce Perkins.

Wicks’ three catches for 55 yards gave him the school single-season record for receiving yards. He now has 1,203 receiving yards this season, which propelled him past former record holder Herman Moore.

Too much on the ground

Mendenhall said his team gave up too many rushing yards to the Hokies.

“Especially in a close game,” Mendenhall said, “because it allows clock to be eaten up and the game kind of moves with the team that can run it. They have more control of the game.”

Virginia Tech tallied 320 yards on the ground, spurred on by long runs from running back Raheem Blackshear and quarterback Braxton Burmeister.

Blackshear had a 50-yard run in the third quarter that set up the game-tying score and Burmeister netted a 71-yard scamper in the first half.

“They’re a running football team,” UVa linebacker Elliott Brown said, “and our job was to get them in passing situations and put pressure on ‘em like we did, and when we did get in passing situations, we did well. But they just had a few big plays that popped loose on QB runs.”


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