Before the season started, question circulated around Charlottesville on how the new Virginia offense would function under Bronco Mendenhall. After four-straight losing seasons, could the Cavaliers finally find ways score enough points, and reverse that losing trend? At the least, a slight uptick in the passing game was expected, but many mysteries remained. This season started off about as poorly as it could have: UVA fell at home to Richmond, then went on the road and got trounced by Oregon, before heading north to lose in a rock fight (shout out, Chip Patterson) to UConn, 13-10.
It’s safe to say, this was not how Mendenhall envisioned the first few weeks of his debut season at Virginia. However, what we’ve witnessed the last two games (both of which ended up in the win column for the Cavaliers), has been a real revelation, and no, that’s not hyperbole.
In victories over Central Michigan — fresh off their upset win at Oklahoma State — and Duke — fresh off their upset win at ee Dame — Virginia scored a combined 73 points; in the three games prior, UVA put up a combined 56 points. Kurt Benkert — add him to the list of ACC quarterbacks having career years — was prolific in the wins over CMU and Duke: combining to throw for 757 yards and eight touchdowns. Two games does not make a season, nor does it mean Virginia’s problems are fixed, but it can help inspire confidence in a new coach and a quarterback at a school that has never had a 3,000-yard passer in its history.
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