Virginia Cavaliers

WINSTON-SALEM, NC - NOVEMBER 5:  Quarterback Matt Johns #15 of the Virginia Cavaliers looks for an open receiver as he attempts a two-point conversion during the first quarter of an NCAA football game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on November 5, 2016 at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Matt Johns to start at QB for Virginia vs. Georgia Tech

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It’s been a lost first season for Bronco Mendenhall at Virginia. The Hoos are 2-8 with just two games remaining.

With nothing to officially play for this season, Mendenhall announced Monday ahead of Saturday’s date with Georgia Tech he’s going to shake things up at quarterback by demoting junior Kurt Benkert to prepare the program for the future by promoting… senior Matt Johns?

Johns has attempted only nine passes this season but fired 403 in 2015, completing 61 percent of his throws for 2,810 yards while tossing 20 touchdowns against 17 interceptions. (To be fair, Benkert hasn’t lit the world on fire this year. He’s 78th nationally in passing efficiency.)

Still, Mendenhall felt he owed Johns the chance to play his final two games as a Cavalier.

While usually you see coaches move to the next generation in situations like this, this show of respect to a team leader will do nothing but build equity for Mendenhall inside Virginia’s locker room.

Miami gives negative injury update on pair of starting linemen

MIAMI - OCTOBER 14:  'Ibis' the University of Miami Hurricanes mascot runs through a smoke cloud prior to a game against the Florida International University Panthers at the Orange Bowl on October 14, 2006 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
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When Miami takes the field against Virginia in Charlottesville Saturday, the Hurricanes will do so down at least one starting offensive lineman, possibly two.

On the team’s injury report Thursday, The U confirmed that center Nick Linder has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.  While the football program only describes it as an upper extremity injury, it had previously been reported that the lineman hurt his shoulder and underwent surgery Wednesday.

Linder had started 22 games in a row for the ‘Canes the past two seasons.  He had also started three games in 2014.

In addition to Linder, fellow starting lineman Trevor Darling is listed as doubtful with a lower extremity injury.  The left tackle sustained the injury, believed to involve his knee, during practice this week.

If Darling is unable to go, Kc McDermott would move from left guard to tackle, with Tyler Gauthier replacing McDermott.  Senior Alex Gall will make his first start this season and seventh of his career in place of Linder.

Georgia Tech’s leading rusher suspended for second time this season, this time for two games

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 05:  Mikey Bart #45 of the North Carolina Tar Heels forces a fumble by Dedrick Mills #26 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the game at Kenan Stadium on November 5, 2016 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 48-20.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Once again, Dedrick Mills has climbed into Paul Johnson‘s doghouse.

Georgia Tech announced Wednesday night that the running back has been suspended for the next two games. The only reason given was, of course, an unspecified violation of team rules.

The suspension will cost the running back this Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech as well as the Week 12 matchup with Virginia. He’ll be eligible to return for the regular-season finale against in-state rival Georgia.

Right now, Mills leads the team in rushing yards (578) and rushing touchdowns (10). The closest Tech back to the freshman is Marcus Marshall and his 299 yards.

Mills is averaging 82.6 yards per game, fourth amongst FBS freshmen, behind only New Mexico’s Tyrone Owens (98.9 ypg), Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams (89.3 ypg) and Kentucky’s Benny Snell (86.1 ypg).

In early September, Mills was one of two Tech backs suspended for a game for violating team rules. He missed the Week 2 game against FCS Wofford and returned the following week. He also didn’t play in the Week 9 win over Duke because of a practice he suffered during practice.

Louisville survives Virginia scare with last-minute Lamar Jackson TD pass

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) scrambles under pressure from Virginia Virginia defensive end Juwan Moye (95) during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/Ryan M. Kelly)
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Facing its first first-quarter deficit of the season, most thought it was a matter of when not if No. 5 Louisville came back on 2-5 Virginia.

While when ultimately came for the Cardinals, it sure as hell wasn’t easy getting there.

On the strength of their longest drive of the game, UVa, a nearly five touchdown underdog, took a 25-24 lead with just 1:57 remaining in the game thanks to a Kurt Benkert touchdown pass and two-point conversion.  The Heisman front-runner, Lamar Jackson, would soon make short work of that lead as the quarterback tossed a pretty 29-yard touchdown pass a minute and a half later to secure a 32-25 win.

Down 10-7 at halftime, the Cardinals watched as the Cavaliers extended that lead to 17-7 halfway through the third quarter.  Three straight U of L scores, however, seemed to right the listing ship as the Cardinals grabbed a 24-17 lead prior to the late fourth quarter fireworks.

For much of the game, Jackson was seemingly doing little to bolster his stiff-armed case.  When the dust settled, however, the superb sophomore signal-caller had accounted for 451 yards of offense (361 passing, 90 rushing) and four passing touchdowns.  This game did mark the first time that Jackson hasn’t put up a score on the ground.  His last game without a touchdown rushing?  Against Virginia Nov. 14 of last year.

Benkert passed for 238 yards and three touchdowns, but tossed two very costly interceptions.  The Cardinals converted one of those picks into a touchdown that gave the U of L a 21-14 lead.

Former Virginia receiver sues school for alleged bullying and hazing

PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 20: Close up view of a Virginia Cavaliers helmet during their game against the Brigham Young Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on September 20, 2014 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images )
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Former Virginia wide receiver Aidan Howard is suing the University of Virginia for what he claims to have been a “culture of bullying, abuse, harassment, and discrimination.” According to Howard’s lawsuit, he claims to have witnessed football players force teammates to imitate and mimic sexual acts and forced players to fight and wrestle while naked or partially naked.

Howard’s lawsuit was filed Friday in a district court in Pennsylvania, according to a report from ESPN. In addition to the university,Virginia wide receivers Doni Dowling and David Eldridge are named as defendants. Another defendant name din the lawsuit is Virginia wide receivers coach Marques Hagans. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall is not a defendant in the suit.

In the lawsuit, Howard claims coaches were aware of injuries suffered through such acts but did not step in to bring an end to the behavior within the Virginia program. Furthermore, the lawsuit argues the school, school officials and coaches as well as students may have been in violation of Title IX laws, in part stemming from verbal insults Howard claims were hurled at players. Hagan has also been diagnosed with a learning disability, which he believes led to some of the allegedly discriminatory insults directed at him.

Howard’s suit claims that coaches knew about his injuries and what caused them, but did nothing to reprimand the football players who he says verbally and physically assaulted him, nor did they enforce school and NCAA rules against hazing, bullying and discrimination. The suit alleges that the university, administrators, coaches and fellow students violated aspects of federal Title IX gender equity laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act and negligence laws, among others.

“[They] would question Aidan’s ‘toughness’ and ‘manliness’ and would call him ‘stupid,’ ‘dumb,’ ‘slow,’ and ‘retarded,'” the lawsuit states.

“We want some accountability by the university and the student-athletes who were responsible for doing this to Aidan,” said Howard’s attorney, C. James Zeszutek. “Now these student-athletes are continuing to play their sport, continuing to attend classes, and there’s been no ramifications to them whatsoever. Our client is a victim who has been injured, damaged and he’s out of competition this year.”

Howard was granted a release from the Virginia program in August. He transferred to Robert Morris University.