Before Saturday, Miami junior Nick Linder, who had surgery this past week to repair a shoulder injury, had started 22 consecutive games at center on the offensive line.
Usual left tackle Trevor Darling, who has a “lower extremity’’ injury according to UM, had started 27 in a row — 22 at left tackle — before Saturday but was replaced by usual left guard Kc McDermott.
Darling did travel to Charlottesville.
So, UM’s starting offensive line was McDermott at left tackle, Tyler Gauthier at left guard to slip into McDermott’s usual spot, Alex Gall at center to replace Linder, Danny Isidora at right guard and Tyree St. Louis at right tackle.
Virginia’s first and only sack came on the last play of the third quarter, and the Canes rushed for 222 yards.
“The line came out here and took on a task that was very difficult for them,’’ said running back Mark Walton, who rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. “They did a great job with the blitzes and D-line.’’
Added veteran Isidora: “I’m really proud of them. I think we’re a versatile offensive line. We pretty much had to find a way to win.’’
Defensive tackle Courtel Jenkins did not travel to the game, per coach Mark Richt’s decision. Jenkins has played in seven games this season and has 3 1/2 tackles for loss and eight total tackles.
UM cornerback Malek Young, a true freshman, made his first career start and senior safety Rayshawn Jenkins made his 31st start — the most for a UM defensive player.
Defensive end Demetrius Jackson didn’t start, but he played for the first time since he injured his knee Oct. 15 at North Carolina.
Brad Kaaya’s 44-yard pass to Malcolm Lewis in the second quarter vaulted him to No. 2 on Miami’s career passing yards list. Kaaya jumped past Jacory Harris, who passed for 8,826 yards from 2008 to 11. N
Kaaya has one man ahead of him: All-time Canes passing leader Ken Dorsey, who threw for 9,565 yards form 1999 to 2002 and led UM to its last national title in 2001.
Junior kicker Michael Badgley, junior defensive end Trent Harris, junior quarterback Kaaya and sophomore Walton represented UM as captains.
Badgley hit field goals of 40 and 44 yards Saturday, making him 19 of 19 in field goals from 40 to 49 yards in his career. Badgley also missed one wide left from 50 yards at 6:07 of third quarter.
MARK RICHT AT UVA?
Before he was hired at Miami, Mark Richt was courted by Virginia a couple of times during his coaching career, including this past year after Mike London was let go.
“Just a beautiful place, a beautiful school,’’ Richt said. “If Miami wasn’t there, it would have been interesting to us as well.’’
Richt also interviewed for the UVA head-coaching job before he got the offer from Georgia.
“Me and my wife, we were very impressed,’’ he said of UVA.
“I can’t say for sure what would have happened,’’ he said, referring to if Georgia had not come calling.
Last year, after Richt was fired from Georgia, rumors circulated that he was seen eating lunch in Charlottesville.
“No,’’ he said. “Must have been somebody else who doesn’t look very good eating lunch, that day.’’
Some hometown connections between players on UVA’s roster and those on Miami’s roster: Dominic Sheppard (UVA), Mitch Davis and Joe Jackson (UM) are out of Miami Gulliver Prep; Jordan Ellis (UVA) and Tyler Murphy (UM) are out of Peachtree Ridge High in Suwanee, Ga; Kirk Gamer, Andre Levrone, Brendan Marshall, Myles Robinson (UVA) and Jared Hardie (UM) are out of Good Counsel in Olney, Md.; Michael Guerci, Malcolm Cook, Trenton Jenkins, Jake Fieler, Dillon Davis (UVA) and Badgley (UM) played at Fork Union Military Academy; Chris Sharp (UVA) and Hunter Knighton (UM) are out of the Hun School in Princeton, N.J.; Michael Mooney (UVA) and Hayden Mahoney (UM) played at Malvern Prep; and Connor Brewer (UVA) and Jordan Butler (UM) are from Scottsdale, Ariz.
Also, UVA defensive line coach Ruffin McNeil and UM offensive line coach Stacy Searels coached together at Appalachian State.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Gus Edwards got his most playing time of the season, gaining 68 yards on 11 carries for a 6.2-yard-per-carry average.
▪ Lewis’ 44-yard catch in the second quarter led to UM’s second touchdown and was Lewis’ longest catch of the season.
▪ One day after Veterans Day, UVA celebrated Military Appreciation Day during the game, which also served as Senior Day at Scott Stadium. The Canes wore their all-white storm trooper uniforms.