CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Kurt Benkert passed for a school-record breaking 455 yards and Virginia avenged a heartbreak loss last season with a 38-18 victory over Connecticut on Saturday.
Virginia came in a rare double-digit favorite and the Cavaliers (2-1) jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead and never looked back. Benkert, a fifth-year senior, broke his own passing record of 421 yards set last season against Central Michigan with a 73-yard touchdown pass to Andre Levrone in the middle of the fourth quarter. Levrone finished with a career-high 127 yards on four catches.
The Huskies offense struggled to keep pace with the constant pressure of the Virginia front early. UConn (1-1) went 1 of 4 on red zone possessions — including two turnovers and a turnover-on-downs.
Olamide Zaccheaus became the 37th Virginia player to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards with a catch in the second quarter, then added a 30-yard touchdown reception from Benkert in the third. He finished with nine catches for 122 yards.
UConn finally got on the scoreboard with Bryant Shirreffs’ 60-yard touchdown pass to Hergy Mayala in the third. Mayala finished with two catches — both touchdowns — for 77 yards.
VIRGINIA: The rumored big-play capabilities of the Cavaliers appeared — and in great frequency. Benkert put up a career day and Virginia had three receivers with over 100 yards with touchdown receptions. Doni Dowling led the corps, tallying 136 yards on six grabs with a touchdown.