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After a promising back half of the season, Virginia football ended 2023 on a sour note Saturday in a 55-17 loss to Virginia Tech. As the year comes to a close, The Cavalier Daily’s two football beat writers take a holistic look at where the Cavaliers stand and what to expect going into 2024.
According to David McArthur, director of public relations at the University of Louisville Health, sixth-year running back Perris Jones underwent spine surgery at the UofL Hospital after receiving emergency care from the UofL Health Sports Medicine team during the game Nov. 9. He then went through physical and occupational therapy at Frazier Rehabilitation Institute. After 19 days, he was deemed healthy enough to travel Tuesday.
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Virginia football returned home to Scott Stadium Saturday and proceeded to play its most complete game of the season, outlasting Duke 30-27. The Cavaliers (3-8, 2-5 ACC) never trailed in the game and showed the potential of a young but talented roster in the victory over the Blue Devils (6-5, 3-4 ACC).
For arguably the first time since the season-opening loss against Tennessee, Virginia football was outclassed against Georgia Tech. The Cavaliers (2-7, 1-4 ACC) fell victim to a laundry list of injuries against the Yellow Jackets (5-4, 4-2 ACC), namely senior starting quarterback Tony Muskett going down and forcing freshman Anthony Colandrea to enter the game and therefore burn his redshirt, which also affected Virginia’s strategy given the stylistic differences between the two players. Rebounding against No. 11 Louisville will be extremely difficult, but Coach Tony Elliott and his squad have proved they are capable of taking down this level of opponent already this season, hoping to enact a similar fate on the Cardinals (8-1, 5-1 ACC) as then-No. 10 North Carolina.
When redshirt freshman forward Leon Bond III committed to Virginia, the Wauwatosa, Wis. native immediately recognized the community Coach Tony Bennett had built. The highly regarded recruit had multiple offers on the table — including Marquette, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech — but he knew that Virginia would be his destination.
Virginia football could not capitalize on its season-changing win against No. 10 North Carolina last week, instead losing a 29-26 heartbreaker on the road Saturday against Miami. The Cavaliers (2-6, 1-3 ACC) jumped out to an early double-digit lead but saw the Hurricanes (6-2, 2-2 ACC) fight back to push the game into overtime, where a touchdown by the home team sealed the victory and gave Virginia its fourth loss by three or fewer points.
Fresh off of its first win of 2023 against William and Mary, Virginia football looked to extend its winning streak to two Saturday night as it went toe-to-toe with North Carolina at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. In a legacy-defining game for Coach Tony Elliott, the Cavaliers (2-5, 1-2 ACC) bested the No. 10 Tar Heels (6-1, 3-1 ACC) off of a game-winning interception by junior linebacker James Jackson.
The Cavaliers (1-5, 0-2 ACC) have dealt with constant mental errors and growing pains in 2023, as proven through multiple second-half collapses — but some losses have been partially due to simply facing a superior opponent, like currently ranked No. 17 Tennessee. That was supposed to be the most difficult game of Virginia’s season. A road date with the No. 10 ranked Tar Heels (6-0, 3-0 ACC) is now even more arduous. The Cavaliers gave North Carolina a serious fight in a 28-31 home loss in 2022, but the Tar Heels are now even more formidable with a diversified offensive attack. The Cavalier Daily spoke with Noah Monroe of the Daily Tar Heel to preview the Saturday night matchup.
Virginia football is on a bye week, so for the first time in a while, a true evaluation of the Cavaliers (1-5, 0-2 ACC) at the midway point of the season can be had. Adding a tally to the win column last Saturday is a massive turning point for Coach Tony Elliot’s struggling squad, but the 2023 season has been a strange mix of frustrating losses, considerable progress and major storylines.
When one thinks of Virginia lacrosse, the first name that comes to mind is Julie Myers. She led the Cavalier women’s lacrosse team for the past 28 seasons and never once failed to qualify for postseason play — a massively impressive achievement. Accounting for Myers’ years as a player and assistant coach, she had been with Virginia for 37 years. Myers is synonymous with winning — and therefore, so were the Cavaliers. So after Meyer announced her departure from athletics, a giant hole opened at the University.
Virginia football earned its first win of the season Saturday, defeating William and Mary 27-13 after pulling away in the second half. Playing host to former Coach Mike London and the Tribe (4-2, 2-1 CAA), the Cavaliers (1-5, 0-2 ACC) finally got in the win column to hopefully turn their season around.
Participating in the College World Series marks a successful season no matter the result in Omaha, Neb. However, Coach Brian O’Connor felt that being the first College World Series team to be eliminated meant falling short of expectations.
Virginia football fell to 0-5 Saturday afternoon in a 27-24 loss to Boston College. The Cavaliers (0-5, 0-2 ACC) led by 14 at the end of the first half and amassed a 4-1 turnover margin advantage, but allowed the Eagles (2-3, 1-2 ACC) to rush for over 200 yards and kick a go-ahead field goal with 2:11 left to win the game.
In its first true road game of the season, Virginia football fell apart late in a 42-14 loss to Maryland Friday. The Cavaliers (0-3, 0-0 ACC) shot out to a 14-0 lead, but were not able to find their way into the end zone for the rest of the match. Meanwhile, the Terrapins (3-0, 0-0 Big 10) took advantage of three second-half interceptions to eventually blow the game open in a final score that made the game look less close than it actually was.
In the team’s first home game of the season, Virginia found itself with a lead early in the fourth quarter against in-state rival James Madison. But after a lengthy weather delay drained the majority of the energy out of the stadium, the Cavaliers (0-2, 0-0 ACC) could not stop the Dukes (2-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) from coming back to win 36-35 by scoring a touchdown with just under one minute remaining.
Virginia basketball is going to look significantly different than it did last season — arguably for the better. Many familiar faces have left the program, but a new youth movement gives the roster all the potential in the world. Among the leaders of the new orange and blue will be Christian Bliss, a four-star point guard from Newtown, Pa.
The word “impossible” is rarely ever true in college football, but several analysts are using that word to describe Virginia's chances of victory in its opening bout. The Cavaliers will kick off the 2023 season against the Tennessee Volunteers in a neutral site contest at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, although the stands will certainly be packed with Volunteer orange. ESPN analytics favor Tennessee by 87.5 percent, meaning an upset would be arguably the greatest win in Cavalier history. Second-year coach Tony Elliott and his crew will fight to turn tragedy into triumph however possible, as a strong performance —- even if the result is a loss —- would be the most memorable game of the Elliott era to date. Virginia will have to play perfect football to return home with a victory.