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UVa football: Cavaliers now will open at Duke on Sept. 26; some players speak out on delay

UVa football: Cavaliers now will open at Duke on Sept. 26; some players speak out on delay


Just when it seemed that the 2020 college football season couldn’t become any more unusual for Virginia, news came down Saturday that had everybody’s heads spinning.

Next Saturday’s game with Virginia Tech will be moved to another date as a result of the Hokies’ heightened coronavirus numbers, leaving the football team unable to field a football team that met the yet-to-be-made public standards set by the ACC.

“These are very challenging times,” UVa athletic director Carla Williams said in a prepared statement released on Saturday morning by the Virginia athletic department. “We understand and respect the decision by Virginia Tech. With so much uncertainty, scheduling becomes incredibly important.”

There was more change ahead for the Cavaliers. Shortly after the Tech game was postponed, the ACC announced it had moved UVa’s game at Duke to Sept. 26, when both teams would have been idle. The Cavs and Blue Devils were originally slated to play on Nov. 14.

That solves the problem the Cavaliers had where the season would not have opened until Oct. 3, when they are scheduled to visit preseason-No. 1 Clemson.

“I appreciate the quick action taken by the ACC and willingness of Duke University to reschedule this game,” Williams said in another release.

“It was really important for the players to have the opportunity to compete given the commitment they have shown each other and the program over the last few months.”

Unlike some other ACC members, Virginia has been successful so far in avoiding outbreaks of the coronavirus in its athletic programs. A press release sent out by the athletics department on Friday night updated the results on the grounds, saying that five positive tests were returned out of 768 athletes tested. Four of those were student-athletes that had recently arrived on the campus, and none involved football players.

Waiting for a game has become a frustrating situation for the UVa players who are eager to play.

“Get your guys to start doing the right thing,” UVa co-captain Charles Snowden tweeted after hearing of the postponement. “Stop doing all that tweeting about how you wanna play and just act like it.”

Offensive lineman Ryan Nelson added on Twitter: “Look, it’s not that hard. Wear a mask, get to play. Don’t wear a mask, don’t get to play and UVa keeps the cup.”

That reference was to the Commonwealth Cup that goes to the winner of the Tech-UVa game. The Hokies had won the matchup 15 consecutive years before the Cavaliers won the 2019 game in Charlottesville, 39-30.

“Our commitment, sacrifices and desire to play show up in the numbers,” added UVa running back Wayne Taulapapa on social media, referring to the Cavaliers not reporting a positive COVID-19 cases since July 24.

“UVa athletics set the standard and this family fought every day to uphold it. At the end of the day, we’ll control what we can control.”

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Doug Doughty is in his 44th year at the Roanoke Times, having produced an estimated 10,000 by-lines, a majority of them on University of Virginia athletics.

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