Virginia hopes for better outcome at No. 1 Clemson

After not playing Virginia for a six-year stretch, Clemson is preparing for a second game against the Cavaliers in a 10-month span.The top-ranked Tigers (2-0, 1-0 ACC) take on Virginia (1-0, 1-0) on Saturday night at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium, where a masked and socially distanced crowd of approximately 19,000 is expected.”It’ll be a great atmosphere for our guys,” said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, whose team trounced Virginia 62-17 last December in the ACC Championship game. “Our guys are in a good place. We’ve got good momentum. We’re in a good place, but let’s turn the page and step into October here.”Clemson has been in “a good place” for several years now. The Tigers are pursuing their record sixth consecutive ACC title and sixth straight trip to the College Football Playoff.Clemson has won 23 consecutive games against ACC competition dating back to the 2017 season and 44 of its last 46 games against league foes.Despite last year’s lopsided loss to the Tigers, fifth-year Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall is looking forward to the challenge once again.”I’m thrilled to be able to get a chance to play Clemson again,” Mendenhall said. “Having earned the chance to play them in the ACC Championship last year, it just accelerated our program. It exposed deficiencies. We’re anxious to learn and apply and improve from what we showed a year ago.”Virginia went 9-5 in 2019 and capped the season with a 36-28 loss to Florida in the Orange Bowl. It marked the Cavaliers’ first nine-win season since 2007.Mendenhall’s team opened its season last week with a 38-20 victory over Duke.”One game in, they look like the team that went to the ACC Championship game last year,” Swinney said. “They’re very experienced. Bronco has done an amazing job. This is a program and a culture that has been building each year. They’re one of the more experienced teams out there.”But it was a couple of relative newcomers who shined against the Blue Devils. Sophomore quarterback Brennan Armstrong rallied the team from a 20-17 fourth-quarter deficit and finished with 269 yards on 24-of-45 passing.