MIAMI GARDENS, Fl. – The college football climb that's in progress in Charlottesville is nothing short of extraordinary.
And it bears repeating, the ascent or the journey, is still in progress.
With the losing streak to in-state rival Virginia Tech finally ending, the UVA season would have been a qualified success regardless. But the coastal title--and nine wins--make it much more in year four for coach Bronco Mendenhall.
“With us coming from a 2-10 season to be now be a 9-4 in the Orange Bowl, it’s unheard of it’s amazing and probably anyone who is a fan during that 2-10 season probably wouldn’t see us here today,” said Cavaliers receiver Hasise Dubois.
“So, I mean, that was a big stepping stone for us. It helped us grow and and build the culture that we have here today.”
UVA enters the Orange Bowl a two touchdown underdog to Florida in a coveted New Year’s six bowl that presents itself as a chance to take another giant step for the program.
“You know, we’re used to that by now you know being the underdog. It actually drives us nuts, fuel to the fire,” said Cavaliers receiver Joe Reed.
“Even last year’s ball game we’re the underdog so we just use that to our advantage and it comes through our preparation. We prepare hard, focus harder and we try to shock the world.”
“It’s a momentum starter,” said Cavaliers defensive tackle Eli Hanback.
“I’m going from the high instead of low so I just think that benefits guys, brings a lot more energy in the off-season into recruiting and I can show where we’re at as a program and where we’re headed.”