Matt Ganyard strikes another football into a vast blue sky and I’m not thinking about catching this one. Number 98? Gotta canon. The ball zings into the net and bounces fat and sweet under the goalpost and I snag and wing it to the Cavalier staffer at the 25, who flips it to Ganyard, who in turn moves back ten yards more. Wearing a blue U.Va. hoodie, his blonde hair cropped short, he hops in place like the midfielder he once was, then checks in with Will Bettridge, the starting place kicker for Virginia, who stands on the other hash. Ganyard is the kickoff guy. Bettridge is the place kicker. But if the team needs a long field goal, or if Bettridge suffers an injury, Ganyard’s up. It’s game day in Charlottesville’s Scott Stadium, and right now he needs data. How long could he go, if needed? Fifty-two yards, maybe 53? Ganyard checks the flags on the goal post as Bettridge hits one from 40 yards. Crisp. Ganyard nods, takes choppy steps back and over, squeezes his left hand into a ball and releases it, a move his father gave him for relieving pressure in high-stress situations. It’s the kind of bright autumn day in Charlottesville when it’s easy to believe that some dreams never die. As he approaches the ball, it’s easy to believe in the kicking dream of Matt Ganyard, who is also approaching middle age. At 34, he’s a decade and a half older than Bettridge—and college football’s oldest player. “You’re going for a thud,” Ganyard later tells me. “A nice sound. You want that sweet spot, the big bone on the top of your foot. And it’s one of those things that when you feel it, you don’t even have to look up. You just know. You know where it’s going.”