Virginia Running Back Wayne Taulapapa Sandblasted Duke In Opening Win

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Virginia is 1-0 this season.
Wayne Taulapapa posted another strong game against Duke, scoring 2 touchdowns for the second straight season on the Blue Devils. ~ Photo courtesy Matt Riley/Virginia Athletics Media Relations

Two Duke defenders met Virginia running back Wayne Taulapapa at the 5-yard line and another soon joined the scene. Taulapapa did not go down. Instead, he started to drive his legs. With some help from a couple of offensive linemen, the dam suddenly burst and the pile surged toward the end zone with Taulapapa crossing the goal line first.

You have to go through the sand to ride a wave like that.

Taulapapa spent plenty of time in the sand this offseason in Hawaii. The cancellation of spring practice and quarantine time afforded him extra time back home. He regularly ran and did footwork drills in the sand dunes near Punahou High School where he won a state championship with his team in 2013.

“I definitely think it helps, but it’s nice to have the O-Line push me from the back,” Taulapapa said. “Each and every time there’s a pile, you can see them surging and pushing me forward. Every little bit of work helps. I think the sand dunes really allowed me to move better, especially in those situations.”

UVA offensive coordinator Robert Anae remembers running in the dunes on the other side of the island more