By Scott Ratcliffe
Two minutes into the second quarter of Tony Elliott’s Virginia head-coaching debut against Richmond Saturday, Cavalier senior quarterback Brennan Armstrong faked a handoff to Perris Jones, found a seam and took off running.
When the dust settled 64 yards later in the end zone, Armstrong had set a few more records on the play. He passed UVA legends Bryce Perkins — his predecessor — and Shawn Moore on the school’s all-time career total yardage list. If that weren’t enough, the 64-yard scamper was also a career long, as well as the sixth-longest carry ever by a Virginia quarterback, giving UVA a 21-7 advantage over the visiting Spiders.
Heading into the season opener, the fifth-year native of Shelby, Ohio, needed just 191 total yards to pass Perkins (7,910 in just two seasons) and Moore (7,897) on the all-time list. He finished with 351 against Richmond.
When asked after the game what it meant to break the Virginia career record for total offense, Armstrong admitted that he had no idea he had broken it.
“I didn’t know I did that,” Armstrong said, humbly, asking if the feat was announced on the PA system before finally letting the realization set in. “It’s crazy. It’s my third year starting — hopefully I’d be getting up there with yards. Yeah, that’s a cool thing. I don’t do it by myself, obviously, with all those receiving guys out there. Last year, especially with our O-line, no, I don’t do any of that by myself, so I’m thankful for the guys I’ve played with to help me achieve those things.”
— Virginia Football (@UVAFootball) September 4, 2022
Armstrong’s name already appears atop just about all the lists in the UVA football history books, with a couple more achievable marks ahead. He can claim himself the sole owner of the following school records: single-season passing yards (4,449); single-season total offense (4,700); single-season touchdowns (31) and single-game total offense (538).
The fact that Armstrong set the career yardage record in the first game of the season only means he can add a lot more to his total, with potentially 11 more games to play, at least, if he stays healthy.
After Saturday’s performance (21 for 33, 246 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns to go with 10 carries for 105 yards and another score on the ground), Armstrong needs to hit the following numbers to set a few more career Wahoo records:
- Four more touchdown passes to clinch the school’s all-time mark (Matt Schaub, 56)
- 433 more yards to break Schaub’s career passing yardage record (7,502)
- 14 rushing touchdowns to pass Moore’s career mark of 28 by a quarterback
Armstrong already holds six of the top nine single-game total offense performances in school history, including the top two — 538 yards against North Carolina and 495 yards against Georgia Tech, both of which came during last year’s explosive season.
The trio of Dontayvion Wicks (UVA’s all-time, single-season receiving yards leader), Keytaon Thompson and Billy Kemp IV is back for another season. With 6-foot-7 wideout Lavel Davis Jr. back in the mix as well, those big numbers are essentially expected from here on out.
Davis led the Cavaliers with 89 yards on just four grabs Saturday, scoring on a 56-yard strike from Armstrong in the first quarter. It was Davis’ first trip to the house since the 2020 campaign after missing last season to injury. Armstrong is certainly glad to have him back.
“Yeah, when you add another guy like that, it only helps,” Armstrong said of his tallest receiver after Saturday’s win. “I’m excited for him. He got that touchdown, he got just that feeling back of scoring, that confidence-builder. But yeah, having him back makes it harder for everyone else to guard us, and I think there’s a lot of things that we’re going to be working on to get better, and it only helps coming off a win.”
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