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What’s the Motivation? UVA vs. VMI

Posted By Gabriel Rodriguez On Sep 23 2010 @ 7:48 pm In Virginia | No Comments

Other than avoiding embarrassment, Virginia doesn’t have a lot to play for this weekend.

The Virginia Cavaliers take the field this Saturday, for the first time in two weeks, and will battle the Keydets of Virginia Military Institute.

Last week the Cavs were on a bye.  The week before they went toe-to-toe with Southern Cal but couldn’t hold on, losing 17-14.  Last week the Keydets were thumped by fellow 1-AA opponent William & Mary, 45-0.

The Keydets know they are in for a long day.  Earlier this week their coach said, “William and Mary was a fine football team and they execute very well.  We anticipate Virginia doing just as well, or better, certainly.”  I have personally witnessed VMI getting crushed by other 1-AA teams, so Virginia should not have much trouble with Keydets, and hopefully will win easily.

The question really is, why is this game even on the schedule?  Virginia doesn’t have much to gain and everything to lose.  If they lose this game, aside from being embarrassed, they could go into a tailspin and get into a funk that they can’t get out of.  The Cavs have already beaten one 1-AA team, so this game would not count toward the six needed to become bowl eligible.  Now, I know looking ahead to bowl eligibility might be a little presumptive, but with the way the Cavs are playing it could be possible.

So what should the Cavs look to do Saturday, other than run VMI off the field?  First, the return of defensive backs Rodney McLeod and Ras-I Dowling.  Both players are expected to see action for the first time this season.  Second, they should be able to answer some questions at quarterback.  Senior Marc Verica is clearly the starter, but, assuming the Cavs are winning comfortably, back-ups Ross Metheny and Mike Rocco should see some playing time.  If so it will be the first significant time either back-up has seen in a live game.

The Cavaliers are bigger, more athletic, and more talented than the Keydets.  That is without question.  But I know from having seen them myself that the Keydets play spirited and tough.  They aren’t scared.  If Virginia is not careful they will get punched in the mouth.  I don’t see that happening.  The Cavaliers depth will simply be too much.  I see Virginia rotating running backs Perry Jones and Keith Payne and occasionally taking shots down the field with receivers Kris Burd and Dontrelle Inman.

For what it’s worth, Virginia is a40.5 point favorite at any place you’re lucky enough to find this game still on the board.

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