Virginia opens the game with 28 unanswered points, Central Michigan comes back to tie it, but Virginia pulls away to defeat the Chippewas 49-35 in Charlottesville. The Chippewas will enter MAC conference play against Western Michigan next Saturday night with a 3-1 record. It’s a matter of fact kind of day for Chips fans.
Kurt Benkert had a strong game for the Cavaliers, as he threw for 421 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. Olamide Zaccheaus was able to haul in 8 catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Taquan Mizzell was able to contribute rushing the ball and receiving, as carried the ball 10 times for 79 yards and a touchdown, and caught 6 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. The Cavaliers were able to find their offensive rhythm under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, much to the chagrin of the Chippewa defense.
Cooper Rush took a few big hits in this game for the Chippewas, but was able to recover, as he threw for 402 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Jesse Kroll, leading receiver for the Chips, fell down awkwardly and left the field on crutches. Corey Willis was able to make up for the loss, as he caught six passes for 145 yards and both of Rush’s touchdowns. The big upside to this game, Central Michigan was able to find a good running game with their running backs. Although the Chips only combined for 93 rushing yards, it’s something to build off of because the Virginia defense made it very clear early in the game that would make Central run the ball to get by them.
The Cavalier offense came out of the gate strong. After a quick three-and-out on their first drive, the Cavalier offense scored the first 28 points of the game, jumping out to a 28-0 lead with 10:34 left in the second quarter. The Chippewas were able to score 14 points before the intermission to cut the lead in half. Amari Coleman was able to intercept a screen pass from Benkert and take it to the end zone for a pick six, making the score 28-21. Cooper Rush threw his second touchdown to Corey Willis on the first play of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 28.
Benkert was able to find Zaccheaus for an 82 yard touchdown to take the lead and the Cavaliers never looked back. The Chippewa defense couldn’t find an answer for the air attack from the Cavaliers after they tied the game up. This was Mendenhall’s 100th victory as a head coach.
Central Michigan moves to 3-1 with this loss, and opens up MAC play next week with a big match-up against the rival Western Michigan Broncos at 7 p.m. on October 1st. This game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
Virginia moves to 1-3 with this win, and will face the Duke Blue Devils next Saturday, October 1st at 12:30. This game will air on the ACC Network.