Perkins, Zaccheaus lead Virginia over South Carolina 28-0

Virginia Santiago
December 30, 2018

This year, the Cavaliers expected to win, and did, with a 28-0 win over SC in the Belk Bowl.

In its third season under coach Bronco Mendenhall, U.Va. publicly pronounced in the preseason that the program's goals were to beat rival Virginia Tech and then win a bowl game.

This game will be a clash of styles with Virginia's spread offense and stellar quarterback Bryce Perkins against that Will Muschamp-coached defense of SC. The Cavaliers (8-5) beat SC (7-5) 28-0 Saturday in the Belk Bowl, breaking their own record for the largest margin of victory in Charlotte; it previously was 26 points in 2002.

Jake Bentley, QB, South Carolina: A third-year starter, Bentley enters the bowl game with 2,953 yards and 27 touchdowns, both career highs. Bentley completed his longest pass of the first half, 31 yards, but a holding penalty and a sack by senior linebacker Chris Peace kept the Gamecocks scoreless and sent Virginia into the break up 14-0.

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They finished with 205 total rushing yards - Ellis had 106 and Perkins had 81 - and used their run game to dominate time of possession, a battle they won 42:35 to 17:25. His 27 touchdowns this season are second-most in a season by a Gamecocks quarterback, and two touchdowns against Virginia would give him a share of the all-time record. SC went an even 4-4 in SEC play and lost all five games it played against ranked teams. Perkins found Zaccheaus on a fourth-and-2 in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard score, and Jordan Ellis added a 9-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0.

The over is 5-0 in the Cavaliers' last five bowl games.

SC had six drives where it entered Virginia territory and came away with no points. Factor in his 3,300 yards of total offense, including more than 800 yards on the ground, and the Cavaliers' offense only goes as far as the junior college transfer takes it.

South Carolina: The first game of the post-Samuel era did not go well.

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In all, U.Va. had the ball for 20:19 of the first 30 minutes of play.

Zaccheaus had touchdown catches of 6, 10 and 12 yards. Williams has 66 carries for 319 yards and four touchdowns to go along with nine receptions for 152 yards. This should be another close affair, but given Virginia's daunting defense and South Carolina's sometimes-electric offense, a much lower-scoring one. Vann won't be the starting outside receiver with Shi Smith sliding outside, but Vann is expected to see more than his typical 2-3 targets per game.

It was a redemptive end to Coach Mendenhall's third year, and the seniors played outstanding football on their last game in a Virginia uniform. SC has only six interceptions, three by CB Rashad Fenton.

Shortly after winning the Belk Bowl and earning Virginia its first bowl victory since 2005, quarterback Bryce Perkins raised the bar.

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