Big Game Preview: UVA football preps for Week 2 matchup with Indiana
Even last year, after the big road win at Boise State, there was a feeling that the other shoe was going to drop at some point, and of course, it did, eventually, predictably.
But after the Cavaliers’ showing in a 42-13 win over Richmond in the 2018 season opener this past Saturday, things just feel … different.
It finally looks and feels like a Bronco Mendenhall team. The defense is full of fast guys who fly to the ball. The offense has a dual-threat quarterback who can outrun elite corners, and two wideouts who are faster than him.
Yes, it was just Richmond, but Richmond beat, no, dominated UVA two years ago, and last year’s team, a couple of weeks out from that seminal win at Boise State, had a hard time shaking William & Mary.
A good Power 5 team playing an FCS team puts the game away by the half and coasts. Virginia had a 28-10 lead over Richmond at the half, and the outcome was not in doubt from about the 10-minute mark of the second quarter on.
Next up is an Indiana team that was the lone blemish in UVA’s 5-1 start to 2017, a 34-17 win over the ‘Hoos in Charlottesville in Week 2.
IU won its season opener at Florida International, 38-28, on Saturday. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey was 20-for-27 passing for 156 yards for the Hoosiers, who outgained FIU 465-327.
FIU, picked fourth in the Conference USA East in the preseason, led 7-0 early, but Indiana recovered, led 28-14 at the half, got back to 38-28 with a TD with 6:04 to go, but IU was able to run the clock out from there, so effectively, the outcome was not at question at all in the second half.
Indiana was picked fifth in the Big Ten East in the preseason after finishing 5-7 a year ago, including a 2-7 mark in Big Ten play.
Of note: the Hoosiers didn’t necessarily play up to their statistical profile in 2017. They were sixth in the Big Ten in both total offense and total defense.
The issue was twofold: turnovers, where Indiana tied for last in the conference in turnover margin, and red-zone defense, where IU was 12th, allowing scores on 87.5 percent of opponents’ red-zone possessions.
Indiana won the turnover battle in its opener, forcing three FIU turnovers while committing just one. But the red zone is still a defensive issue: the Panthers scored touchdowns on each of its three red-zone trips.
- Day/Time: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
- Location: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind.
- TV: Big Ten Network