Virginia overcame a very slow start and sent the Keydets packing, 48-7.
With about two and a half minutes to go in the first quarter VMI scored on a one yard touchdown pass from Cameron Jones to Robbie White. This tied the game, 7-7. To that point in the game Virginia had rushed for only four yards. It was clear that VMI came with the intention of playing tough and stopping the run, and they were doing it.
Unfortunately for the Keydets, all of their momentum stopped after that play. Raynard Horne took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown. Virginia quarterback Marc Verica threw two touchdown passes in the first six minutes of the second quarter and the rout was on. Virginia back-up quarterbacks Ross Metheny and Mike Rocco each threw a touchdown pass in the second half, further complicating their battle for the no. 2 spot on the roster.
So the Cavs get a big win but it was against an FCS team, and a bad FCS team at that. They can’t let the 48-7 final score overshadow some of the mistakes they made and some concerns they should have because of this game.
First of all, the slow start. This game was tied late in the first quarter and VMI could have been winning. Early in the game Chase Minnifield muffed a punt that game VMI the ball in the red zone. Luckily their drive went nowhere and their field goal attempt was wide. After that was when VMI drove and scored their touchdown. Minnifield made up for his mistake later by getting interceptions on consecutive drives. Senior corner Ras-I Dowling saw his first action of the season but looked rusty. He got beat on a deep throw early and was called for pass interference soon after that. The Cavs also had only four yards rushing in the first quarter and fifteen yards rushing in the first half.
Virginia has a real issue with starting games slowly. Against Richmond they were holding on to a 14-7 lead at halftime. Against USC they committed early turnovers and dumb penalties that stalled drives. They need to remedy this sluggishness because the they won’t be able to dig holes and get out of them against the rest of the ACC.
Virginia also had some fumbling issues. They committed four fumbles, including Minnifield’s muffed punt, and lost two of them. VMI was not able to capitalize, but a more talented opponent will.
Virginia needs to correct some of these issues because the rest of their games are against ACC opponents. Now it really matters. They start that part of their schedule next week, when they host the Florida State Seminoles.
About the Author
Written by Gabriel Rodriguez
Born in Germany, early childhood in NYC, raised in the D.C. area, currently reside in Charlottesville, VA. Big fan of the NY Giants and San Antonio Spurs.