Hendon Hooker, now with Tennessee. Courtesy of UTSports.com.

In a rare event, the Virginia and Virginia Tech football teams find themselves in the same boat after the fourth week of the season. 

They aren’t anywhere near college football’s top 10 and the Sagarin Rankings published by USA Today has them at No. 75 (UVa) and No. 98 (Virginia Tech) after the first four games. 

Both teams are 2-2. Among Virginia schools, James Madison is ahead of them at No. 62 and Liberty, at No. 88, is ahead of Tech.

Two ACC schools that rank below Tech and UVa are Georgia Tech and Boston College, both of which are 1-3, with Georgia Tech having fired athletic director Todd Stansbury and head coach Geoff Collins after a 27-10 loss at Central Florida this past weekend.

That was preceded by a 42-0 home loss to Mississippi.

The selection to replace Stansbury as head coach is Brent Key, the Yellow Jackets’ assistant head coach and run-game coordinator. That might lead to confusion in a conference that would have a Brent Pry, the Virginia Tech head coach, and a Brent Key.

Georgia Tech’s new director of athletics, Frank Neville, is a former martial artist and body builder, as well as a baseball writer for the Sporting News. He also spent 15 years as a diplomat in the Department of State.

Hendon Hooker in his Virginia Tech days. Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech Athletics.

Hard to miss

Former Virginia Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker, who started 15 games over two seasons for the Hokies, is now being mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate after accumulating 461 yards in total offense as No. 11 Tennessee defeated No. 20 Florida 38-33. 

Hooker has a string of 212 pass attempts without an interception. It was the most passing yardage against Florida by a Tennessee quarterback since Peyton Manning in 1997. Hooker also rushed for 112 yards against Florida.

Hooker, originally from Greensboro, N.C., passed for 22 touchdowns and close to 3,000 yards over the 2019-2020 seasons at Tech, He had completion percentages of more than 60 percent in both seasons. 

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About Bennett

UVa’s Chico Bennett, named ACC defensive player of the week after registering two sacks at Syracuse, began his college career at Georgia Tech before transferring to UVa. The oft-traveled Bennett played two seasons at Rock Ridge High School in Ashburn, Va., before moving to Franklin, Tenn.

Bennett’s father played at Hawaii and an uncle played three seasons in the NFL.

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Kicking woes

After a 2021 season in which he kicked 11 field goals in 13 attempts, UVa senior place-kicker Brendan Farrell was 4-for-6 this season before missing from 50 and 48 yards Friday night in the Cavaliers’ 22-20 loss at Syracuse. 

 Farrell, who had kicked the winning field goal one week earlier in the Cavaliers’ 16-14 victory over Old Dominion, is backed up by Will Bettridge, a freshman from Gulliver Prep outside Miami who was ranked the No. 3 kicking prospect in the country by 247 Sports. Head Coach Tony Elliott announced Tuesday that Bettridge will handle field goals with Farrell on kickoff duty moving forward.

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Virginia, Virginia Tech kicks in running for Ray Guy Award

Daniel Sparks of Virginia and Peter Moore of Virginia Tech are on a list for the Ray Guy Award, which goes to the nation’s top punter.

Sparks, who played at Louisiana-Monroe before coming to UVa, is averaging 45.25 yards per punt, with seven of 25 downed inside the 20. Moore is averaging 42.8, with 10 inside the 20. 

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Impressive rookie

Jelani Woods, a first-team All-ACC selection after catching 44 passes and scoring eight touchdowns for Virginia in 2021, caught two touchown passes Sunday, including the game-winner, for the Indianapolis Colts in their 20-17 victory over Cincinnati.

Woods, a 6-foot-8, 253-pound tight end, began his college career at Oklahoma State and was a third-round pick in the NFL Draft earlier this year.

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Rodney Lora, a 6-foot-4 defensive lineman from Woodberry Forest east of Charlottesville, has rescinded his oral commitment to Virginia and says he plans to visit Penn State this weekend. He is rated the No. 18 prospect in the state by rivals.com.

Doug Doughty has been writing for more than 50 years starting as a high school student in Washington,...