Cavaliers strap up boots for uphill battle
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS)-- The Virginia Cavaliers have just 6 games remaining on their calendar and they are no walk in the park. Starting with No. 10 North Carolina this Saturday, three of UVA's final six games are against AP Top 25 teams.
You could call North Carolina, or any of these remaining games a battle of David vs Goliath, or even ring the bells for an upset alert but no matter how you spin it, Tony Elliott is looking forward to the uphill battle that is the second half of their schedule.
"It's just a great opportunity you know," said UVA football coach Tony Elliott, "It's really why you come to a school like UVA, to be able to play in these types of games and you know my vision and hope is that we're on the other side where we are the ranked opponent."
Following their trip down Tobacco Road Virginia faces more tests in No. 21 Louisville and No. 16 Duke, not to mention another road trip against a hot Miami team. Including the Tar Heels, the combined record of UVA's remaining opponents is 27-11. Four of the last five opponents have either gone unbeaten for a portion of the season or have just one loss.
"This is why you come to the University of Virginia," said UVA senior quarterback Tony Muskett,
Coming off their bye week Virginia will hit the ground running facing one of the best quarterbacks and best offenses in the country. North Carolina has scored a minimum of 30 points in each of their contests so far this season as they remain one of just two undefeated teams in the ACC. The Tar Heels are third in the ACC in scoring offense averaging 317 yards per game.
"You want to play the best teams in the country," said Muskett, The ACC is really good this year so like I said our back half is a lot of good teams, ranked teams but like I said this is exciting football. This is why I came here and why a lot of guys came to play against the best of the best and we're going to get to do that this week and moving forward so I can't wait to go out there Saturday and just show what we can do."
When scouting Carolina, Elliott kept it simple.
"It is the best team that we’ve seen so far,” said Elliott.
Luckily for the Cavalier defense, this isn't the first time they have seen quarterback Drake Maye. In last season's contest, UVA led the Tar Heels for the majority of the game, only falling after a late third-quarter Carolina rally, 31-28. Though it went down in the record book as a loss, the experience gained from defending Maye and the explosive Carolina offense will come in handy for veteran defenders like Jonas Sanker, Coen King, and Aaron Faumui.
In addition, the Virginia defense is coming off their best performance of the season. The 'Hoos held William and Mary to just 72 passing yards, the fewest allowed in a game since 2021. They hope to carry that kind of stout protection into Chapel Hill.
"This is what you want as a competitor," said Elliott, "That was my message to the guys this morning like come on man it's prime time it's 6:30, it's on the road, it's a top ten team, like this is what you dream about. When you are a kid these are the moments that you want to be in."
Virginia will kick off against No. 10 North Carolina in Kenan Stadium on Saturday, October 21st at 6:30 pm. Game coverage can be found on the CW.