Excitement filled the air and the hill crowded with anxious students chanting “UVA! UVA!”, as quarterback Michael Rocco took a knee with under a minute left and sealed Virginia’s 24-21 victory over No. 12 Georgia Tech.
The game was an important game for a young program that needed a boost of confidence after two close wins, an important game for a fan base that needed reenergizing, and a rewarding game for a second year Coach Mike London.
The Virginia Cavaliers spent the their bye week preparing to play a tough game against ACC Rival Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech was off to its best start since 1966 (6-1), and entered the game with one of the nation’s top offenses.
The Cavalier defense held Georgia Tech’s offense to a season low of 296 yards of offense and only 24 yards of passing offense with only two pass completions. The Cav’s defense forced quarterback Tevin Washington to hold onto the ball by limiting Georgia Tech’s running backs.
Washington had 115 yards offense and two touchdowns. The rest of the Georgia Tech backs, however, gained no more than 37 yards. Tech’s total offense was 88 yards less than their season average.
Senior Chase Minnifield after the game said, “ It’s probably the hardest we’ve prepared for a game and the results showed”
The Offense was also extremely prepared for former Virginia head coach Al Groh’s 3-4 defensive scheme.
Junior Perry Jones recorded a career high with 149 yards of offense. Freshman Kevin Parks and Clifton Richardson each scored a touchdown and quarterback Michael Rocco hit Tim Smith for a 37-yard touchdown, all in the first half. Robert Randolph kicked a 36 yard field goal in the second quarter making the half time score 24-14.
Though the Cavalier offense did not score in the second half. The Cavaliers did a great job burning time off the clock during the final drive. With 5:58 left in the game the Cavalier offense lead by Michael Rocco was able to drive the ball up the field. With under a minute left the Cavaliers were kneeled on the Georgia Tech 6-yard line for the victory.
After the team kneeled for victory. Scott Stadium erupted in celebration and thousands of students rushed the field to celebrate the victory with the team. It was the first time since 2005 the Cavaliers have defeated a top fifteen team.
“This is one of those wins that can change the perception of what you think about yourself, said an elated Virginia Coach Mike London, “ This is one of those wins against a good team with a lot of accomplishments that you can try to turn the corner on, about how you think about yourself.”