Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong has a career day as Cavaliers dominate FCS foe Abilene Christian in third consecutive victory

Jami Frankenberry, The Virginian-Pilot

Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong threw for nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns by halftime, and he wasn’t quite finished.

Armstrong connected for two more touchdowns — 56 yards to Keytaon Thompson and 52 yards to Ra’Shaun Henry — on the Cavaliers’ first two drives of the second half to cap a career day in a 55-15 victory over Abilene Christian on Saturday at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville.

Virginia (4-4) won its third straight game and reached .500 with a win in its first meeting against the Football Championship Subdivision foe from Texas.

Armstrong finished with 383 yards and four touchdowns on 16-of-23 passing, without an interception. The sophomore did not play in the fourth quarter, so he came up short of Kurt Benkert’s single-game U.Va. passing record of 455 yards against Connecticut in 2017. Armstrong’s 383 yards and four TDs are both career highs.

Virginia’s offense failed on fourth down on its first drive of the game and punted on its second. But Armstrong guided the Cavaliers to touchdowns on six consecutive possessions after that and never looked back.

Armstrong’s first-half touchdowns went for 28 yards to Tony Poljan and 90 yards to Lavel Davis Jr.

Shane Simpson added two 1-yard touchdown plunges in the first half as Virginia built a 28-7 lead at the break. Simpson’s second score was the final play of the first half, and was an untimed play after an Abilene Christian penalty — completing a 30-second scoring drive.

Virginia finished with 518 total yards while holding the Wildcats (1-5) to 296.

While Virginia’s offense dominated, the defense played most of the game without star linebacker Charles Snowden after he suffered what appeared to be a serious injury in the first half. Snowden returned to the sideline during the second half on crutches, with his right leg in a cast.

Abilene Christian’s only first-half score was a 2-yard touchdown pass from Stone Earle to Kobe Clark, cutting Virginia’s lead to 21-7 with 30 seconds left in the first half.

The Wildcats added a second-half touchdown on Peyton Mansell’s 2-yard run, and Abilene Christian put a safety on the board when U.Va. attempted a trick play from its own end zone late in the fourth quarter.

The final margin came on D’Sean Perry’s 84-yard interception return for a touchdown on the last play.

Coming up

Virginia is scheduled to play Florida State next week, although it’s unclear if Saturday’s developments involving the Seminoles will affect that. Florida State’s game Saturday against No. 4 Clemson was postponed just hours before kickoff after medical personnel from both schools couldn’t agree it was safe to play in Tallahassee, Florida, amid the pandemic.

The ACC announced the postponement, but it didn’t detail whether it involved coronavirus issues.

———

©2020 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)

Visit The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.) at pilotonline.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.