VMI Embracing Underdog Role In UVa Matchup

The last time the VMI football team beat UVa was in 1978, when the Keydets came to Charlottesville and won 17-9. Since then, the Cavaliers have won the last nine matchups in a row between the two teams.

Despite their record against the 'Hoos in recent decades, this year's Keydets team is looking forward to the opportunity to play at Scott Stadium on Saturday.

"You have a 60 minute opportunity," said head coach Sparky Woods, "It's not who always has the biggest, strongest team, it's who's ahead when the time runs out. So we're going to try to battle for 60 minutes and take advantage of any opportunity we have."

Woods is familiar with both Charlottesville and the UVa football program. The Keydets coach was an offensive coordinator for Virginia under George Welsh during the 1997 and 1998 seasons. But Woods is not the only member of the team who has ties to Charlottesville. Sophomore wide receiver Sam Patterson graduated from Monticello high school.

"It's going to be fun, and it is a big opportunity," said Patterson. "It's an opportunity for guys whose names haven't been out there so much to get there name out there, and to make big plays in front of a lot of people."

VMI is coming off a 37-24 loss to North Greenville and will bring a 1-2 overall record into Scott Stadium on Saturday.

Patterson says he and his teammates are trying to keep their focus and prepare for Virginia just as they would for any other team on their schedule.

"UVa is a good team, they just came off playing two pretty good opponents in BYU and Oregon," he says. "It's going to be a challenge for us, but a challenge I think everyone, all the guys are excited to take on."

"We've got to get our team to play as well as we can," said Woods. "It's a chance for us to match our skills against an outstanding football team, and gives us a chance to be on a bigger stage than we're used to."


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