CHARLOTTESVILLE — If Florida State running back Cam Akers wasn’t tackled in the exact spot as Warrick Dunn had been 24 years earlier, he was close enough to evoke memories Saturday night.
Following a 31-24 victory over the Seminoles, maybe Virginia could carve out a spot on the turf and commemorate it.
“I had literally just watched our ACC Network,” said UVa defensive back Nick Grant, speaking of a rerun of the 1995 Virginia-Florida State game, won by the Cavaliers 33-28.
“Maybe [Dunn] got in. Maybe he didn’t. We had more convincing of a stop than that. I don’t know if they had the [replay] technology then that we have now. All I know is, we stopped them.”
Cornerbacks Bryce Hall and De’Vante Cross were credited with a shared tackle, just as Adrian Burnim and Anthony Poindexter had been in the 1990s.
“We played that a lot [on video] in McCue,” said UVa safety Joey Blount, referring to the football operations center. “It was how many years ago, 24?
“FSU has a brand, the Seminoles. We’re trying to build that sort of culture, a legacy behind the name of Virginia. Watching their games on film, there were a lot of penalties and other teams were playing their best ball against Florida State.”
Blount, whose father was an All-ACC defensive back at Virginia, didn’t shy away from another topic, the unsportsmanlike penalty called on UVa head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
“I loved it,” Blount said. “I have no problem with it. It showed his emotion and love for the team. It’s not just players. He views us as his family, and he fights for his family.”
Mendenhall’s mea culpa
Mendenhall assured reporters that he did not use bad language on the unsportsmanlike penalty, said to be the first of his career.
“I make it a point to not do that,” Mendenhall said of swearing. “I didn’t know I had the penalty. Coach [Nick] Howell said, ‘Coach, you’re out on the field and they just threw a penalty on you.’ I looked and I saw it.’”
Mendenhall has presented his wife, Holly, as an arbiter of his good behavior over the years.
“Holly said, ‘Holy cow, you got a penalty for that? It’s like the first time I’ve ever seen that in your head-coaching career and, the one time you do that, you get a penalty,’” Mendenhall said.
“She thought that might be some injustice. There wasn’t a scolding tone, but I don’t think she was really happy with me.”
Line of succession
Backup quarterback Brennan Armstrong was seen wearing an orthopedic boot in practice in the week leading up to the Florida State game and backups listed for Saturday’s 7 p.m. meeting with ODU include redshirt sophomore Lindell Stone and 5-foot-10 freshman RJ Harvey.
“We haven’t played [Harvey] enough to give an accurate assessment,” Mendenhall said. “We know he’s dynamic and he can run and he can throw. In terms of composure, maturity, making the reads [and] handling all the things that are required, it’s way too early to tell.”
Stone, who put up record-breaking numbers at nearby Woodberry Forest, has played in one game in his three years at UVa.
Reports of a commitment from four-star Louisiana defensive end Brandon Williams brought questions about Virginia’s continued interest in the southern bayou.
“The yield is so clear that there is no way that we cannot consider staying and bringing more players from that area,” said Mendenhall, whose staff includes three coaches or administrators from Louisiana.
“Our view of Louisiana is not state-specific. It just happens to be personnel-related with my staff.”
Dejon Brissett, a graduate transfer from Richmond who had 63 receptions for the Spiders in 2017, made his first appearance of the season Saturday in his return from ankle surgery.
“Before he got hurt, we were really impressed and still are,” Mendenhall said. “We lost [Dontayvion] Wicks to a concussion last week. It just so happened that Dejon was coming back and that just matched perfectly.
“I would expect more touches, more inclusion in the script and usage for him going forward.”