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Brennan Armstrong fires 5 TDs as Virginia rips Illinois

Sep 11, 2021; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Brennan Armstrong (5) passes the ball as Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Jartavius Martin (21) watches in the first quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2021; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Brennan Armstrong (5) passes the ball as Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Jartavius Martin (21) watches in the first quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Brennan Armstrong threw for a career-high 405 passing yards and five touchdowns to lift host Virginia to a 42-14 victory over Illinois on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va.

Armstrong, who completed 27 of 36 passes and even had an 18-yard reception, tossed a pair of first-half scoring strikes to Dontayvion Wicks and one to tight end Jelani Woods (five catches, 122 yards). Billy Kemp IV reeled in a touchdown pass in the third quarter and Wayne Taulapapa did the same in the fourth for Virginia (2-0, 0-0 ACC).

Armstrong overcame a scare after he appeared to tweak his right knee following a hit during the third quarter. He did not miss a play on the scoring drive and returned wearing a knee brace on the next possession.

Artur Sitkowski threw for one touchdown and Chase Brown rushed for another for the Fighting Illini (1-2, 1-0 Big Ten), who have dropped two in a row.

Armstrong got off to a fast start by throwing for 171 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone.

Armstrong found Woods for a 31-yard reception on the opening drive before the pair hooked up again for a 32-yard touchdown to give Virginia a 7-0 lead.

Illinois went three-and-out on its first possession and Armstrong completed passes to Ra’Shaun Henry and Kemp before connecting with Wicks for a 28-yard touchdown.

The Illini halved the deficit early in the second quarter as Sitkowski found Deuce Spann for a 33-yard touchdown pass.

Virginia, which saw its momentum slowed by a pair of missed field goals, regained its two-touchdown advantage late in the second quarter. Armstrong connected with a wide-open Wicks for a 6-yard score with 1:17 left.

Brown scampered 21 yards around the right side on Illinois’ opening possession of the second half to trim the Cavaliers’ lead to 21-14.

Virginia responded on its ensuing possession, with Kemp going in motion before snaring a swing pass from Armstrong for a 2-yard score.

Keytaon Thompson lined up at quarterback and reached the end zone from 8 yards out before Armstrong found Taulapapa for a 3-yard touchdown pass to cap the scoring.

–Field Level Media