Wahoo Preview, Game 1: Richmond at Virginia

By Scott Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

The wait is almost over. The Tony Elliott Era of Virginia football officially gets underway at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Scott Stadium against FCS in-state rival Richmond.

Elliott takes over for Bronco Mendenhall, who compiled a record of 36-38 in his six seasons at the helm and led the Cavaliers to three bowl appearances.

Elliott, who served as offensive coordinator for Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers the past seven seasons, had been one of the hottest names in the assistant coaching ranks nationally for years, and finally found the right fit for him and his family at UVA.

Elliott hopes to avoid a repeat performance of Mendenhall’s first game as Cavalier coach, when Richmond came into Scott Stadium and shocked the Wahoos, 37-20, to start the 2016 season.

The Spiders are tied with Rhode Island at No. 24 in the FCS preseason poll after finishing with a record of 6-5 (4-4 CAA) in 2021. After some early-season struggles, UR finished strong, winning each of its final four contests.

Virginia leads the all-time series, 29-3-2, claiming seven of the last eight matchups since the 2000 season. UVA defeated the Spiders, 42-13, in the last meeting in 2018.

Richmond head coach Russ Huesman is heading into his sixth season since taking over for Danny Rocco after the 2016 campaign. The Spiders, who won the FCS title in 2008 with former UVA coach Mike London, have yet to qualify for the postseason under Huesman.

The Richmond offense — a new-look, high-tempo, “air-raid” attack — features multiple personnel and formations, and could be a bit challenging for the Virginia defense initially.

New Richmond OC Billy Cosh (30 years old) comes to the Spiders from VMI, where he spent the majority of the last four seasons (he was receivers coach-turned-offensive coordinator) with UR starting quarterback Reece Udinski, who broke records with the Keydets before transferring to Maryland last season.

Udinski will also be reunited with 6-foot-4 wideout Jakob Herres, a VMI grad transfer, and has a few other talented receivers to throw to, including Jasiah Williams 

The Spiders also possess a strong running game, with a solid 1-2 punch of Aaron Dykes and Savon Smith, along with an experienced, senior-laden offensive line.

The defense is led by junior linebacker Tristan Wheeler, but there is not quite as much experience on that side of the ball, particularly up front.

You can read much more about the matchup between the Cavaliers and the Spiders by checking out our Football Archives. You can also listen to our in-depth preview podcast with Bob Black, Voice of the Spiders, as well as the Jerry Ratcliffe Show preview podcast with Chris Graham.

The Statistical Breakdown

Head Coaches

Virginia
Tony Elliott
At UVA — 0-0 (first season)
Career — 0-0 (first season)

Richmond
Russ Huesman
At UR — 24-25 (sixth season)
Career — 83-62 (13th season)

Broadcast Information

TV: ACC Regional Sports Networks (find your local station here)
Announcers: Tom Werme (play-by-play), James Bates (analyst), Lyndsay Rowley (sideline)

Radio: Virginia Sports Radio Network
Announcers: John Freeman (play-by-play), Tony Covington (analyst), Jay James (sideline)

Satellite Radio:
SiriusXM — 134 or 204
SXM App — 967

Kickoff Forecast

Partly cloudy, 69 degrees
Precipitation — 0%
Wind — ENE 4 mph
Humidity — 85%
(Courtesy AccuWeather)

Depth Charts

Virginia

Offense
WR — 3 Dontayvion Wicks (6-2, 208 Jr.); 38 Sean Moore (6-1, 163 Jr.)
LT — 52 McKale Boley (6-4, 331 Fr.); 79 Colby McGhee (6-3, 298 So.)
LG — 76 John Paul Flores (6-4, 308 Gr.); 77 Noah Josey (6-5, 316 So.)
C — 51 Ty Furnish (6-3, 279 So.); 78 Jestus Johnson (6-3, 306 So.)
RG — 67 Derek Devine (6-6, 295 Sr.); 71 Zach Teter (6-5, 314 Jr.)
RT — 68 Logan Taylor (6-6, 300 So.); 60 Charlie Patterson (6-6, 281 So.)
TE — 85 Grant Misch (6-6, 247 Sr.); 44 Sackett Wood (6-4, 244 Jr.)
QB — 5 Brennan Armstrong (6-2, 210 Sr.); 16 Jay Woolfolk (5-11, 208 So.)
TB — 2 Perris Jones (5-7, 180 Sr.); 7 Mike Hollins (5-9, 208 Jr.)
WR — 99 Keytaon Thompson (6-5, 216 Gr.) or 4 Billy Kemp IV (5-9, 176 5th)
WR — 1 Lavel Davis (6-7, 219 Jr.); 80 Luke Wentz (6-3, 210 Jr.)

Defense
DE — 82 Kam Butler (6-3, 265 Gr.); 1 Paul Akere (6-4, 258 Gr.)
NT — 90 Jahmeer Carter (6-2, 313 Jr.); 95 Devonte Davis (6-4, 306 Gr.) or 19 Olasunkonmi Agunloye (6-5, 283 Jr.)
DT — 94 Aaron Faumui (6-2, 282 Sr.); 10 Ben Smiley (6-4, 274 Jr.)
Bandit — 15 Chico Bennett Jr. (6-4, 252 Sr.); 91 Jack Camper (6-5, 252 Gr.)
MIKE — 6 Nick Jackson (6-1, 234 Sr.); 33 Josh Ahern (6-3, 234 Jr.)
WILL — 7 James Jackson (6-3, 228 So.); 13 Hunter Stewart (6-3, 242 Jr.) or 41 D’Sean Perry (6-3, 230 Jr.)
LC — 23 Fentrell Cypress (6-0, 184 Jr.); 22 Elijah Gaines (6-1, 201 So.)
RC — 3 Anthony Johnson (6-2, 205 Gr.); 26 Jaylon Baker (6-2, 187 Sr.)
SPUR — 8 Darrius Bratton (6-0, 193 Gr.); 5 Chayce Chalmers (6-1, 213 Jr.)
FS — 27 Lex Long (6-3, 215 So.); 21 Donovan Johnson (6-2, 200 So.)
SS — 20 Jonas Sanker (6-1, 204 So.); 0 Antonio Clary (6-0, 199 Sr.)

Special Teams
P — 38 Daniel Sparks (6-6, 203 Jr.)
PK — 40 Brendan Farrell (6-0, 209 Sr.); 17 Will Bettridge (5-10, 173 Fr.)
KO — 40 Brendan Farrell (6-0, 209 Sr.)
Hold — 13 Jared Rayman (6-2, 195 Jr.)
LS — 45 Aidan Livingston (5-11, 229 Gr.); 62 Lee Dudley (6-0, 225 Gr.)
PR — 4 Billy Kemp IV (5-9, 176 5th)
KOR — 7 Mike Hollins (5-9, 208 Jr.)

Richmond

Click to enlarge

UVA returning players’ offensive stats – 2021

 

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