It’s interesting that the nation’s top passer somehow happens to be an under-the-radar quarterback.
UVA passer Brennan Armstrong has garnered some light attention this season en route to completing 261-of-406 passes (64.3%) for 3,557 yards with 27 touchdowns and eight interceptions. So far in his career, he’s completed 435-of-699 passes (62.2%) for 5,932 yards with 47 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
In his latest appearance, a 66-49 loss to BYU, Armstrong completed 22-of-34 (64.7%) passes for 337 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions, also recording two rushing scores with 94 rushing yards. It should be noted that he was unable to finish out the game, appearing to indicate that he broke his ribs after throwing an interception—and it’s obvious that it’s hindering him here.
With a bye week upcoming, there’s yet to be an update on just how severe Armstrong’s injury is and how long he’ll be away from the football field. If he’s unable to go, this is quite a blow for UVA—Armstrong brings an apparent level of explosiveness to this offense and has made a difference both as a passer and as a runner in the Cavaliers’ Air Raid offense. You don’t see a lot of quarterbacks in the Air Raid running around a ton—they’re not really asked to do so. Being able to maneuver the pocket well, evade pressure, and take the ever so occasional keeper will do just fine. But this is a quarterback who certainly has the ability to knock defenses off balance with his legs from time to time—he’s come close to 100 rushing yards in his past two performances (94 yards against BYU, 99 yards against Georgia Tech) and has seven total rushing touchdowns through nine games this year.
As his completion percentage would suggest, factoring in the sheer amount of passes he’s thrown both this season and in his career as a whole, Armstrong is accurate at several different areas of the field and keeps this pass-happy scheme humming—though he seems to do some of his best damage with the deep ball.
Armstrong has the full support of his teammates, who have made comments about how he does not receive enough national attention for his efforts—and how could they not back a signal-caller who provides confidence that the team may be down but never out when trailing?
One key thing to know if you weren’t able to watch this past weekend’s game between UVA and BYU is that the Cavaliers quickly fell behind 21-0 in the first six minutes of the game before Armstrong put together 280 passing yards, three touchdowns, 91 rushing yards, and two ground touchdowns before halftime to breathe life into a team that mostly struggled because of failures on defense in a high-level offensive shootout.
Armstrong brings the type of talent and wherewithal to a team that not only helps an offense move the chains but inspires and elevates the players around him—and guys like to rally around that.
When the gunslinger who also has a knack for breaking ankles can return to the football field will be something to watch as he continues to make a case for himself not only in a 2022 NFL Draft class that still remains mostly open at the quarterback position, but as a darkhorse in a Heisman Trophy race that has some identified favorites but is still far from decided.