After seeing Virginia pull off a comeback victory against Duke last Saturday, Clemson redshirt sophomore linebacker Mike Jones Jr. is impressed by the resiliency Cavaliers quarterback Brennan Armstrong showed in his first career start.
Armstrong threw an interception in the second and third quarters, and Virginia trailed by three points entering the final frame. However, Armstrong stepped up down the stretch, tossing touchdown passes of 18 and 26 yards to Lavel Davis Jr. in the fourth quarter as he led the Cavaliers to a 38-20 win in Charlottesville, Va.
Armstrong finished the game 24-of-45 passing for 269 yards and the pair of touchdowns and picks. The sophomore also ran for 47 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
“That dude, he showed some heart,” Jones said on Monday. “Everything wasn’t really going as smooth all game, but whenever it mattered, he came through. So, we’ve noticed that, and that’s something we’ve got to get ready to compete with this week.”
Virginia’s offense totaled 450 yards and 25 first downs against the Blue Devils while overcoming three turnovers to earn the victory.
Having watched the Cavaliers on Saturday, Jones sees plenty of similarities between this year’s version of their offense and the one the Tigers faced when Clemson defeated Virginia 62-17 in the ACC Championship Game last December.
“Just as a team, they do a good job of motioning — whole bunch of movement pre-snap, and they’re doing a lot of the same things they did last year when we played them in the ACC Championship,” Jones said. “So, we definitely recognize that and are getting ready to get prepared for that.”
In the conference title game, former Virginia and All-ACC quarterback Bryce Perkins completed 27 of 43 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns with a couple of interceptions while adding 58 yards rushing on 17 carries.
Jones can tell the Cavaliers still do a lot of the same things offensively that they did with Perkins last season, though Jones isn’t sure whether their 2020 offense is identical to last year’s with Armstrong now at the helm.
“It’s kind of hard just to tell, really, from one game because we had a lot more film on the quarterback from last year,” Jones said. “But it is very similar, I can say that. They use their quarterback, they ran the ball a lot with him too, and they used the quarterback last year also to do some of the certain things. Very similar games, though, but it’s kind of hard to tell just after one if it’s the same exact stuff. But definitely some traces of it.”
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