Two eras of coaching come to an end when Virginia and SMU meet at the first Fenway Bowl Wednesday in Boston.
It is the last game for Cavaliers coach Bronco Mendenhall, who made the surprising announcement on December 2 that he was stepping down after six seasons. His successor, former Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, will take the helm after the bowl game.
Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt is the Mustangs’ interim head coach for the game at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Head coach Sonny Dykes left for TCU in late November and his replacement, former Miami offensive coordinator and SMU Rhett Lashlee, takes over the Mustangs in 2022.
Virginia (6-6) and SMU (8-4) both stumbled towards the end of the regular season. The Cavaliers are on a four-game losing streak and the Mustangs have lost four of their last five games.
Virginia lost 29-24 to rival Virginia Tech in its final game on November 27.
“We don’t want to send (Mendenhall) with the V-Tech game,” Cavaliers quarterback Brennan Armstrong said. “I’m glad we have another opportunity to send it off on a high note, to send our fifth year seniors and COVID senior of the year. That’s my goal. That’s what I really want: to send these guys on a high note, because you always remember your last game here, and you want it to be a W. ”
Armstrong ranks second in the country with 4,449 passing yards and set a UVA record with 31 touchdown passes.
His SMU counterpart Tanner Mordecai, a transfer from Oklahoma, had 3,628 yards and is fourth in the country with 39 touchdown passes.
After going 5-7 in Dykes’ first full season of 2018, the Mustangs have since registered a 25-10 record. They started 7-0 this season and climbed to 19th in the polls before the difficult end.
Running back Tyler Lavine said he was happy “to be part of a team that changed this program” and he hopes to win a home homer in Boston.
“I feel like everyone killed him,” Lavine told Spectrum News 1 in Dallas. “Everyone sees the end goal and I think we can continue. “
The Mustangs are 7-9-1 in bowl games, with their most recent victory coming at the Hawaii Bowl 2012. The Cavaliers are 8-13 all-time in bowl games, including 1 -2 over Mendenhall’s six seasons.
This is the first meeting between the programs.
–Field level media
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