'Hoos can hit early milestones vs. FSU

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Bronco Mendenhall only got to 3-0 twice in his 11 seasons as football coach at BYU, and it hasn't happened at Virginia since 2005.

But as of Monday evening, the 2-0 Wahoos were favored by 7 1/2 points heading into Saturday night's game at Scott Stadium against Florida State.

That game will mark the 19th all-time meeting between the Cavaliers and FSU, and the first time the Seminoles have visited Scott Stadium since 2010. With UVA at No. 25 in the new Associated Press Top 25, Saturday will also be the first-ever meeting between the two programs when the Wahoos are ranked and Florida State is not.

UVA hasn't won a game when nationally ranked since November 10, 2007 -- the Cavaliers' 48-0 drubbing of MIami in the final game at the Orange Bowl. The program has lost its last four games when ranked in the AP Top 25, including last year's November loss at home to Pitt.

"A lot of guys on the team don't even look at that stuff. We just go into the week the same way," UVA junior safety Brenton Nelson said of the Cavaliers' ranking. "We have definitely earned our way in. But just like last year with Pitt, we earned our way in and then lost that game. We cannot let it get to our head this time."

"Being ranked doesn't mean anything in the beginning of the season or early in the season, at all. We've still got to go out there and play," said UVA senior quarterback Bryce Perkins. "It kind of puts a target on our back, and makes us have to practice harder. Not even just play harder but practice harder, and be more prepared so we can take that next step as a team and continue to be great, and continue to show that this UVA team is something serious."

That next step can come on Saturday against the Seminoles, who went 5-7 in Willie Taggart's first season as coach last year to end the program's 36-year bowl streak. This season, FSU let a 12-point halftime lead get away in a 36-31 loss to Boise State on opening night, then needed overtime to beat UL-Monroe 45-44 last Saturday. This weekend's game will be Florida State's first away from home.

UVA is just 3-15 all-time in the series against FSU, but the two programs haven't played since 2014. No one on the Cavaliers's current roster has faced the Seminoles.

"Florida State every year is full of talent. They're still full of talent. So it's a game we're taking very serious, we're very excited for," senior defensive lineman Eli Hanback said. "They have a lot of capable guys on both sides of the ball. No matter what they've been through they can win any game they play in."

"Oh man, tremendous history of great football players, great football program. And definitely one of the teams, the handful of teams that you grow up saying, 'Wow, that team is great,'" said Perkins. "I'm excited to play FSU. They're a great team with a great history, and it's definitely going to be a fun one."

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