CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Virginia looked solid in an opening 42-13 win over an FCS opponent in Richmond, who had knocked off the Cavaliers on the home field two years ago. Victory was never in doubt in that revenge game, and Virginia will have the chance to redeem themselves against another opponent on Saturday.
Indiana (1-0) knocked off the Cavaliers 34-17 last season in Charlottesville and welcomes Virginia (1-0) to Bloomington for the second of a home-in-home in a game that is key for both teams.
“You know, I think there is just a little bit more certainty as to who they are,” Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall said about the Hoosiers. “Under a new head coach, year two always seems to bring some momentum, brings a little bit more clarity.”
The Hoosiers dispatched FIU 38-28 on the road last week as quarterback Peyton Ramsey threw for three touchdowns. Ramsey had his coming-out party against Virginia last season when he completed 16 of 20 pass attempts for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Virginia will now have more film on the 6-foot-2, 212-pound sophomore, and with a stout secondary, that could end up making the difference.
“I remember a year ago we spent so much time preparing for the starting quarterback, and when Ramsey came in it was a completely different style,” Mendenhall said. “So the alteration of the plan — and I remember exactly what that was like and adjusting midstream.”
Virginia ran for 301 yards against Richmond and put two players over 100 yards rushing in quarterback Bryce Perkins and running back Jordan Ellis.
Indiana will be playing its home opener and has a 40-18 record in those games at Memorial Stadium. The Cavaliers won the only meeting between the two teams in Bloomington, 34-31, back in 2011 and are looking to win their first two games of a season for the first time since 2012.
The Cavaliers were solid on both sides of the ball against the Spiders and held Richmond without an offensive touchdown — the first time Virginia’s defense held a team without a touchdown since 2013.
Indiana’s ground attack will be without running back Cole Gest who ran for 17 yards against FIU before tearing his ACL. He will miss the remainder of the season.
Virginia hasn’t knocked off a Big Ten team in six seasons.
–RB Jordan Ellis ran for a career-high 146 yards against Richmond last week as Virginia’s running attack was dominant against the Spiders. Ellis averaged 7.3 yards per carry and found the end zone two times. Ellis and the much-improved Cavalier running game totaled 301 yards on the ground behind an offensive line that was still a question. Virginia will get a better test from Indiana’s defense but Ellis looks prime to continue a superb start to his senior season.
–CB Bryce Hall paced Virginia’s defense with six total tackles and a sack against Richmond.
–QB Bryce Perkins opened his Virginia career with a bang. The junior became the first Cavalier quarterback to run for two touchdowns in a game since 2009 and also threw for 185 yards while rushing for 108. Perkins, who began his career at Arizona State, totaled four touchdowns and look perfectly comfortable in his first career FBS start.
–CB Tim Harris kicked off his sixth season as a Cavalier and made two tackles while deflecting a pass against Richmond. An injury-plagued career has not stopped Harris’ drive and work ethic and he has shown that he will be a vital part in Virginia’s stacked secondary.
–RB Olamide Zaccheaus has a reception in 30 straight games. The streak started against Miami back in November of 2015.