FACTS AND FIGURES
Where: Charlottesville, Va.
Colors: Blue and orange
Record: 1-2 overall (5-7 last season; first meeting vs. Boise State)
Last game: Beat William & Mary 35-29 on Saturday in Charlottesville
Mike London, 54, is 24-40 in his sixth season with the ACC program. He was an assistant at Virginia for six seasons between 2001 and 2007. He went 24-5 in two seasons at Richmond, winning the FCS championship in his first season in 2008. He was a detective for the Richmond Police Department in the late 1980s before pursuing coaching.
Using a varied system that employs multiple looks, a la Boise State, the Cavaliers have at times shown the ability to rack up big plays, with eight gains of 30 yards or more thus far. They are averaging 375 yards and 26 points per game. Junior QB Matt Johns (6-foot-5, 210 pounds), who started three games last season, is 64-of-96 passing for 790 yards with six TDs and three interceptions. Last season’s primary starter, Greyson Lambert, is now starting at Georgia.
Johns’ top target is senior WR Canaan Severin, who has hauled in 19 passes for 264 yards and a touchdown. The Cavaliers also got back speedy North Carolina transfer T.J. Thorpe last week from a broken collarbone that kept him out five weeks. The offense has another top target, a unique one in college football — a running back that catches as well as he runs. Junior Taquan Mizzell leads the team with 155 rushing yards and is second with 17 catches and 233 yards through the air.
The offensive line, which has 10 players with game experience, has allowed only three sacks despite two returning starters yet to play because of injury.
Virginia’s 4-3 defense has six seniors slated to start this week against the Broncos, but it has been inconsistent at best to start the season, allowing 32.3 ppg. The Cavaliers are one of only two FBS teams that has yet to create a turnover (Wake Forest is the other).
Sophomore ILB Micah Kiser is off to an excellent start, leading the Cavaliers in tackles (32), tackles for loss (4.5) and sacks (3.5). Senior DT David Dean (two sacks) anchors the line, earning an All-ACC honorable mention as a junior. Senior CB Maurice Canady was second-team all-ACC last season and is a potential pick in the first half of the NFL Draft. The biggest name on the defense, however, is sophomore FS Quin Blanding, a freshman All-American who had 123 tackles and two interceptions last season. He has 25 tackles this year.
Virginia is No. 2 in the nation in punt returns, with four for 135 yards (33.8 yards per return), including a 74-yard touchdown by Canady on Saturday. He has three returns for 105 yards, and freshman Olamide Zaccheaus has the other, which went 30 yards. Opponents average 11.7 yards per return. Junior P Nicholas Conte averages 49.6 yards per punt, but he had one blocked for a safety against William & Mary. Senior K Ian Frye, a big one at 6-foot-6, is 3-of-5 on field goals this season.
DID YOU KNOW?
Virginia Executive Associate Athletic Director Jon Oliver is a Borah High grad and played basketball from 1983 to 1985 at Boise State, where he earned his bachelors degree in 1994. He’s been in the Virginia athletic department for 15 seasons.