UVA offense trending in right direction

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- The Virginia football team left Louisville ranked 108th in the country in total offense. Two weeks later, the Wahoos are back in the top 100, thanks to two of their top three offensive performances against ACC opponents this season.

UVA has averaged 465 total yards in its back-to-back wins at North Carolina and at home against Georgia Tech. That has raised the Cavaliers' per-game average to 369.2 total yards -- up from 345.3 following Virginia's 28-21 loss at Louisville.

After beating Georgia Tech 33-28 last Saturday, UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall said that increase in offensive production starts up front.

"It's offensive line improvement. And to say that's not the critical point, it is," Mendenhall said. "That's allowed Bryce to run more effectively, to have more protection, to throw more effectively."

"Our offensive front has trended upward for about the last six weeks. It's been incremental, it's been slow, it's been sometimes less visible to the outside world, but I've seen it."

Dating back to the loss at Notre Dame in late September, UVA has started the same offensive line -- Bobby Haskins at left tackle, Ryan Nelson at left guard, Olu Oluwatimi at center, Chris Glaser at right guard and Dillon Reinkensmeyer at right tackle -- in each of the last six games.

Over the last four games, running back Wayne Taulapapa has rushed for six of his 11 touchdowns on the season. With 112 yards at UNC two weeks ago, Bryce Perkins became the first UVA player to break 100 yards rushing on the season -- then the quarterback did it again last weekend against the Yellow Jackets, with 106 yards.

"I'm into winning. Whatever I've got to do to win, really," Perkins said. "I had a solid 100-yard rushing game, but I also did it through the air, too. So kind of that balanced nature attack."

Perkins has also thrown for 636 yards the past two games -- he set a new UVA single-game record with 490 yards of total offense at UNC -- with four touchdowns and no interceptions. The Cavaliers haven't turned the ball over since the loss at Louisville.

"Just the mindset. We got tired of, in the losses, just not pulling our weight," Perkins said. "So I think we all made a point, and everybody made a decision to just come out with a different mindset and different nature about us, and just do the things that we know how to do."

According to UVA, the Wahoos are one of three teams in the country with three receivers in the top 50 nationally in catches -- Joe Reed (61), Terrell Jana (53) and Hasise Dubois (49). Jana entered the UNC game with 31 catches on the season. He's made 22 the past two games.

"We went through a tough road stint. But coming home like this, and getting that big win on the road last week, I think it's just added motivation," Jana said. "And then seeing the 'D' is banged up too, so we've got to lean on the offense a little bit more and make some plays, put some points on the board. I think now we're seeing our responsibility and we're rising to the occasion."

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