NCAA College Football Week 8 Thursday Night Football: Virginia wins defensive struggle game against Georgia Tech, 16-9; head coach Tony Elliott’s first ACC win

LB Nick Jackson 8 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
Bandit Chico Bennett Jr. playing against his former teammates at Georgia Tech, recorded 2 sacks

ATLANTA ( 10/21/22) – On a night when the Virginia Cavaliers’ offense and special teams broke down repeatedly, their defense turned in a phenomenal performance, and that was the difference in this ACC game at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dobb Stadium.

In a 16-9 victory on ESPN’s Thursday night showcase, UVA recorded eight sacks—tying as the second most in program history—and held the Yellow Jackets to 202 total yards. Linebacker Nick Jackson, playing in his hometown, made a team-high eight tackles, including two sacks, and recovered a fumble. Chico Bennett Jr., a transfer from Georgia Tech, also had two sacks for the Wahoos (3-4, 1-3), as did Paul Akere.

Safety Jonas Sanker and cornerbacks Anthony Johnson and Fentrell Cypress II had two pass break-ups for Virginia. Coen King added his first career interception, picking off a pass tipped by Cypress in the endzone to kill a Yellow Jackets’ scoring opportunity in the first quarter.

The Cavaliers’ offense totaled 411 yards and gave up no sacks, and quarterback Brennan Armstrong threw the 57th touchdown pass of his career, breaking the program record he shared with Matt Schaub. But Virginia had three turnovers, including an interception that the Jackets (3-4, 2-2) returned for their only touchdown, and committed several costly penalties.

The game shouldn’t been so close, but UVA freshman Will Bettridge missed two field goals and an extra point, and wide receiver Lavel Davis Jr. dropped a pass in the end zone that would have made it a two-touchdown game in the second half. Still, the Hoos found a way to defeat Georgia Tech in Atlanta for the first time since 2008, and in the locker room afterward Armstrong presented the game ball to first-year head coach Tony Elliott.

Armstrong, a fifth-year senior, completed 20 of 35 passes for 255 yards and one TD, with two interceptions. He also punished the Jackets with his running ability, carrying 13 times for 91 yards and a touchdown.

Keytaon Thompson caught a game-high seven passes for 89 yards, and fellow wideout Dontayvion Wicks had four receptions for 99 yards and one TD. On his touchdown, Wicks broke a tackle along the Cavaliers’ sideline and then cut back to the middle of the field, eluding defenders along the way. He crossed the goal line to complete a 44-yard play that put UVA up 13-6 midway through the second quarter.

COURTESY VIRGINIA ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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