Emotional Hoos Surge To Road Victory

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Cedric Peerman continues to inspire with his play and his leadership.

Many of us, including me, have wondered what happens to the Virginia football team when it leaves Charlottesville. Too many times we’ve seen the Cavaliers flounder away from Scott Stadium. No emotion. Foggy eyed. Flat-footed and flat-lining on the road. It’s a theme, outside of 2007’s magical run, that seemed to run longer than E.R. on television.

Earlier this season alone, UVa had been hammered in two road games to the tune of 76-13.

Not the case in a 24-17 win Saturday as Virginia defeated a ranked Georgia Tech team in Atlanta, UVa’s first road win against a ranked opponent since a victory at Clemson in 2001. The Hoos’ emotional tanks were no where near empty. Players were bouncing around, celebrating big plays, and clapping fiercely every time someone came to the sidelines. It wasn’t just one person either – it trickled down to everyone wearing orange and blue. Heck, with 1:14 remaining, even Al Groh was grinning like the Cheshire Cat who has pulled off a reappearing act for the ages.

It all started with the team leaders and Virginia trailing 14-3. An interception by Marc Verica followed by a big-play passing bomb and subsequent touchdown run for Georgia Tech could have ignited a familiar fuse. Instead, Cedric Peerman and Clint Sintim started a fire.

Peerman, in particular, stood center circle among teammates and delivered a tongue-lashing, fire ’em up speech unlike anything I remember seeing from him. Don’t get me wrong, we all know that Peerman is a leader in every sense of the word. He clearly has the unwavering respect of his coaches and teammates. But it always seemed like Peerman’s style was considered to be mostly of the lead-by-example variety. You know what I mean: You bring the noise, I’ll bring the hard hat.

But there is Peerman. A 5’10”, 208-pound