Belk Bowl: Perkins, Zaccheaus lead Virginia past SC

Belk Bowl: Perkins, Zaccheaus lead Virginia past SC

Virginia wrapped up their season with their first bowl win since 2005, and their future looks bright.

As soon as they returned to Charlottesville, those returning players determined that 2018 would not end that way.

Perkins threw three touchdown passes to Olamide Zaccheaus, the game's Most Outstanding Player, and Virginia's 14th-ranked pass defense dominated a SC team that had averaged more than 38 points over its previous five games.

Bentley said he didn't play well at all. But it was the Gamecocks who ate crow.

3 Play strong in the secondary: Even with star receiver Deebo Samuel sitting out, SC and QB Jake Bentley present a potent passing attack. Bentley, South Carolina's main offensive threat this year, was just 10/18 with 104 yards passing in the first frame, stymied by Virginia's talented secondary.

Olamide Zaccheaus, WR, Virginia: A first-team All-ACC selection, Zaccheaus has 82 catches for 973 yards and six touchdowns as the top target of dual-threat QB Bryce Perkins.

Perkins threw three touchdown passes to Olamide Zaccheaus, the game's Most Outstanding Player, and Virginia's 14th-ranked pass defense dominated a SC team that had averaged more than 38 points over its previous five games.

"Because its very, very irregular that we make it to a bowl game", said Virginia student Cullen Johnson, "so we just had to make it out and support the 'Hoos any way that we could".

Perkins also played MVP-worthy or at least Blimp Worthy football.

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Perkins completed 22 of his 31 pass attempts for 208 yards and the three touchdowns. "Even when I might not make a play or he might not make a play, it's like, 'Who wants it on the next play?' We're the same that way". After heartbreaking defeats the last two weeks, the Cavaliers played with a chip on their shoulder and shut out an SEC opponent with an incredible display on offense and defense. SC didn't force many turnovers and was in the bottom half of the league at generating sacks.

"We held them to zero points", Zaccheaus said. The Gamecocks are only a little over an hour away and that should give them a distinct edge for the crowd. "We wanted to win this game".

"That was buried the minute we came back and got to work in January", Mendenhall said.

No fans should expect any Jadeveon Clowney-type hits in this bowl game, but the SC defense will need to come up big, especially against a Virginia quarterback who can both throw and is slippery. SC was 2 of 13 on third down conversions and 2 of 5 on fourth downs. Meanwhile, UVA converted 11 of 17 third downs and its only fourth-down attempt. The Cavaliers' win marks yet another leap for Coach Mendenhall's New Standard. "They watched USC vs Clemson".

"When you get in a 21-0 game, and they start dialing up a bunch of exotic pressures, it becomes a different game", Muschamp said. "They played exactly as they prepared". Facing a fourth-and-2 at the 6-yard line, Perkins hit a wide open Zaccheaus in the middle of the end zone for the touchdown, putting U.Va. up 7-0 with 3:30 left in the opening quarter.

"We are significantly closer (to arriving)", Mendenhall said. "A bowl victory is significant, especially when you put it in contrast to a year ago, you can't be more striking in this setting".

"Yeah, maybe we won't be picked last", he cracked. The Cavaliers have since progressed to 6-7 and 8-5, so whenever Hall chose to depart, the program would have been better.

"I am glad it wasn't a nail biter", Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "We're not done. This is the first step".

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