Chris Graham: UVA offense explosive in win over Ohio U.

uva footballUVA football gained 552 yards of total offense in its 45-31 win over Ohio U. on Saturday in Nashville. Nearly half of the yards came on three big plays from the explosive ‘Hoos offense.

Wideout Olamide Zaccheaus had two of the chunk plays, an 86-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter that put the Cavaliers up 14-0 early, and a 75-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter that put the game away.

Tailback Jordan Ellis, who scored on an 18-yard run on Virginia’s first play from scrimmage, after a Bobcats turnover, added a 75-yard run to the mix.

That’s 236 yards on three plays for a Virginia offense that also did the little things right: converting 7-of-11 on third downs.

A.J. Mejia did hit the upright on a 30-yard field-goal attempt in the third quarter, and there were three lost fumbles.

But overall, the offense did its job. Quarterback Bryce Perkins threw for 379 yards and three touchdowns, completing 25 of his 30 pass attempts.

Ellis ran for 171 yards on 19 attempts with three TDs.

Zaccheaus put up video-game numbers: with 247 yards on nine catches, and the two long scores.

Maybe it was a good thing that UVA got in out of the rain in Charlottesville. The offense looked more like the unit that put up big numbers in the season-opening win over Richmond two weeks ago.

The game, originally scheduled to be played at home in Charlottesville, was moved to Nashville earlier in the week, with the threat of Hurricane Florence looming.

Florence would not have been a factor had the game been played in Charlottesville, though rain showers were in the area throughout.

Though not in Nashville, where the game-time temperature at kickoff was 91 degrees, with sunny skies.

The UVA offense scored on its first two plays from scrimmage, the 18-yard Ellis run, and the 86-yard Zaccheaus catch-and-run.

The afternoon was a highlight reel of the speed of the Virginia side, with Zaccheaus, Ellis and freshman punt returner Tavares Kelly providing the highlights.

The defense, solid early, could have done a better job closing this one down, but let’s give Ohio U. credit.

The Bobcats were preseason favorites in the MAC, and some had them winning 10 or more games in 2018.

This is a good win for Virginia, and a showcase of the explosiveness that Bronco Mendenhall’s crew can bring

Column by Chris Graham

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