Brennan Armstrong just good enough in Virginia’s win over Georgia Tech

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ATLANTA – Brennan Armstrong helped Virginia overcome a difficult start in the first quarter to account for 349 yards of total offense and help the Cavaliers snap a three-game skid with a 16-9 victory over Georgia Tech on Thursday night.

In a matchup of the two lowest-scoring teams in the ACC, Virginia (3-4, 1-3) avoided an 0-4 start in conference play for the first time since 2014. The Cavaliers stopped a five-game losing streak on the road.

Georgia Tech (3-4, 2-2) had won two straight for the first time since it had a four-game streak four years ago and was trying to move above .500 at the latest point in a season since 2018.

Though Virginia’s offense hardly looked spectacular, Armstrong did enough to keep the team moving while the defense stalled Georgia Tech throughout the second half. Nick Jackson and Chico Bennett Jr., a transfer from Georgia Tech, led the way with a combined eight solo stops and had four of the team’s eight sacks.

Jackson had a big sack on the Georgia Tech’s next-to-last possession to force a fourth down and drop the Jackets back to the 48 with 1:52 remaining. Fentrell Cypress II broke up a fourth-down pass in Virginia territory.

Armstrong was 20 of 35 passing for 255 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He ran 13 times for 94 yards and a score.

With quarterback Jeff Sims starting the game for Georgia Tech but sidelined in the second quarter because of an apparent left knee injury, Zach Gibson took over and led the offense to the Virginia 1. The Jackets couldn’t get any farther, and Gavin Stewart kicked a 35-yard field goal that cut the lead to 13-9 at halftime.

Gibson lost a fumble at the Georgia Tech 5 in the third quarter, but the Yellow Jackets’ defense held when Lavel Davis dropped a touchdown pass in the left corner of the end zone, and the Cavaliers settled for a 28-yard field by Will Bettridge that padded the lead to 16-9.

Dontayvion Wicks caught a 44-yard TD pass, weaving through several defenders down the left sideline to put the Cavaliers up 13-6 midway through the second when Bettridge missed the extra point. Armstrong broke Matt Schaub’s school record with his 57th career TD pass.

Beginning the game ranked 110th in turnovers, Virginia lost a fumble on its first possession that was recovered by LaMiles Brooks at the Georgia Tech 39. The Jackets drove to the 8 before Sims was intercepted in the end zone by Coen King.

THE TAKEAWAY

Virginia: A week after allowing six sacks in a 34-17 loss to Louisville, the Cavaliers kept Armstrong clean in the pocket. Even so, the Cavaliers barely resemble the stout unit that led the ACC in total offense last year at 514.4 yards per game and finished fourth in scoring at 34.6 points per game. Armstrong was the leader in total offense, averaging 427.3 yards per game, but Virginia entered Thursday ranked 10th in total offense and 13th in scoring.

Georgia Tech: Fell short after being favored to beat an FBS team for the first time in 10 games. The Jackets were going for their first three-game winning streak since 2018. Instead they have to be concerned about the health of Sims, who watched the second half in street clothes. Key dropped to 2-1 and failed to become the first Georgia Tech coach since Bud Carson in 1967 to win his first three games.

UP NEXT

Virginia: Hosts Miami on Oct. 29.

Georgia Tech: At Florida State on Oct. 29.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”