EDGE Notes – Louisville: Virginia Football Reversing Trends

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The University of Virginia football program’s return to its winning ways is the product of culture and established success. Determination and confidence kept UVA afloat while enduring October struggles, paving the way for the Hoos to make improvements that have helped secure earn wins over North Carolina and Louisville. With a win over Abilene Christian this Saturday, UVA can return to .500 with three more ACC games left to play.

What has Virginia football been able to turnaround the past two weeks?

First Quarter Success

Although UVA won its season-opener over Duke, 38-20, the Blue Devils outscored the Hoos 10-0 in the first quarter. The Cavaliers did not score a point in the first quarter until game four against Wake Forest, when they posted three points. Duke, Clemson, NC State and Wake Forest outscored UVA in the first quarter, 48-3.

If Wake Forest was a step in the right direction, Miami was a breakthrough of sorts. After allowing an easy touchdown to the Hurricanes, the then 1-3 Hoos responded with their first touchdown drive of the first quarter all season long to tie the game at 7-7. The score would hold, making it the first time this season Virginia had not trailed after the first quarter.

Virginia, which ultimately lost to Miami 19-14, outscored North Carolina, 13-10, in the first quarter the next week. The Hoos went on to defeat the Tar Heels, 44-41. This past Saturday, UVA outscored Louisville, 7-3, en route to a 31-17 win over the Cardinals. Junior outside linebacker Noah Taylor’s 85-yard interception return was the only touchdown of the quarter … maybe not the fast start Mendenhall envisioned, but a good start on the scoreboard nonetheless.

“Critical,” Mendenhall said of Taylor’s touchdown. “We took the ball and were expecting a lot more success offensively. We went three and out after the decision that I made to take the ball by winning the toss. So, that didn’t go as planned, and then Louisville was moving the football consistently and they’re down in our red zone. And so, man, that play was just a critical turn of events to kind of recapture the momentum we were hopeful to orchestrate with our decision at the beginning