Virginia looking for better bowl outcome after past year | AP sports

Arnold Nichols
December 31, 2018

The Cavaliers do not want a repeat performance in the Belk Bowl Saturday against SC.

"Just the physicality", he said of his first impressions after watching the team from the Southeastern Conference on film. After beating MI past year, SC can get to eight wins while taking care of an ACC foe.

It was Virginia's first bowl win since 2005 and first win over an SEC opponent since it downed SC in Charlottesville in 2002.

Senior wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus had a record-setting day, catching 12 passes for 100 yards and three touchdowns as U.Va. beat SC, 28-0 in the Belk Bowl.

Perkins completed 22 of 31 passes for 208 yards and ran for 81 yards. He finished the day with 12 receptions for 100 yards and three touchdowns, just shy of 2002 MVP Wali Lundy's Belk Bowl record of number of touchdowns and points-four and 24 respectively. Virginia won two games in Mendenhall's first season, six in his second and with this win have won eight games for the first time since 2011. "He's bigger than me, but his game is something I idolize and try to (emulate) on the field". "Even when I might not make a play or he might not make a play, it's like, 'Who wants it on the next play?' We're the same that way". QB Jake Bentley went 14-of-27 for 199 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in the win. Virginia had 28 first downs compared to just 12 for SC.

There's plenty of reason for confidence with Bentley throwing 16 touchdown passes in his last five games and being on the verge of eclipsing 3,000 yards passing. "We sold our allotment of tickets and didn't put on a good show and that's on me, and I apologize to them".

"I think the guys have responded really well not having him out there at practice", Bentley said.


In addition, this was the first-time the Gamecocks were shutout in their Bowl game history. Virginia's incredible defense, however, came up with another huge stop as the Gamecocks threatened to score. "Also, I needed to check off the Carolina stadium for my National Football League stadium trips and just ended up... yeah two down". The Cavaliers' defense held South Carolina's offense - which gained 600 total yards against Clemson - to just 261 total yards.

All week long, Wahoo players absorbed the trash talk from SC players who said they wanted to flex their SEC muscles over a foe from a weaker conference.

The Gamecocks converted only 2 of 13 third downs and 2 of 5 fourth downs (which Mendenhall considers the same as a turnover). It would be a little surprising if Bentley turns pro, particularly after such a poor performance.

Bronco Mendenhall has established a dynamic offense, swarming defense and earned-not-given culture within Virginia's football program. Most of that unit will return next season.

SC started the game with the ball.

"I love watching Cam Newton's game", said Perkins. "It's just insane to watch him play".

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