CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Defensive players on the Notre Dame football team know that scouting the Virginia offense begins with No. 3.
”Very good player. Can make plays with his feet and also through the air,” Notre Dame senior safety Jalen Elliott said of the Cavaliers’ quarterback, senior Bryce Perkins. “So just making sure that we really lock into our coverage, and locking into making sure that we have him contained, is going to be huge for us. And they have athletes on the outside that can get it done as well. They can make plays, so we just have to be locked into that."
Saturday’s game in South Bend will be the 18th start for Perkins in a UVA uniform. He has spent the past two seasons climbing the program’s all-time quarterback statistics rankings. Perkins’s 3,623 career passing yards are 14th in program history; he’s up to third all-time among quarterbacks at UVA with 1,116 rushing yards.
Perkins has thrown for 843 yards and six touchdowns through UVA’s first four games this season. His 210.8 yards per game and 65.3 percent completion percentage are both up slightly from last year, while his 131.9 passing efficiency is down from 2018. Perkins also leads the Cavaliers with 193 rushing yards, while his two rushing touchdowns are tied for second on the team.
"I enjoy playing a mobile quarterback,” Notre Dame junior defensive lineman Kurt Hinish said this week. “It creates kind of a challenge for myself and the guys around me. Let's line up on Saturday and do it."
Perkins gave UVA fans a scare late in last weekend’s come-from-behind win against Old Dominion. Miscommunication led to a premature snap, which then led to a big hit on Perkins when the quarterback tried to pick the ball up and run instead of falling on it. Perkins stayed down for a few minutes before coming off the field for one snap, then returning to close out the 28-17 victory.
Keeping Perkins healthy is currently even more critical for the Cavaliers, because backup quarterback Brennan Armstrong was still in a walking boot at practice this week after missing the past two games with an undisclosed injury. But UVA coaches conceded this week that they’ve come to accept that corralling Perkins’ desire to make plays is near impossible.
And according to Perkins, that’s not going to change.
"It's hard, because you never know if that play is going to make the difference in that drive or the game or not,” Perkins said. “So I think it's every drive and every play, when you have an opportunity, you just have to try your best to -- if it's a first down, you're right there, to try to get it.”
“Just trying to move the chains or get a touchdown. In your head, you've just got to be aggressive."