Chris Graham: Ye, Mike London, of little faith

Here’s what’s going through Mike London’s head as the clock continued to tick in the closing moments in Lane Stadium Saturday.

No way our offense can move the ball. And even if we move the ball, no way our kicker makes a kick. That’s why I tried that ridiculous fake field goal in the third quarter up a touchdown with the momentum going our way. Best thing we can do here is let the clock run down, hope he misses it, and then we go to overtime.

Otherwise, if you’re London, and you have not one, but two timeouts in the bag, in a tie game, with Virginia Tech clearly trying to, go figure, run the clock down to three or four seconds to set up a game-winning walkoff field goal, why do you let them do that?

If London uses the timeouts, worst-case scenario is, well, maybe Tech tries to move the ball, lightning strikes, the Hokies score a touchdown, and you get the ball back with a minute to go down a touchdown, but with a chance.

If he uses the timeouts, and Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer plays it conservatively, you get the ball back with a minute to go down a field goal, and a chance.

Now, Virginia didn’t move the ball after the aforementioned fake field goal, what would have been a 38-yarder from a team that was just 7-of-12 on the season on kicks longer than 30 yards, but even so. Worst-case scenario, you get the ball back with 55 seconds and no timeouts. You have a chance. When Cody Journell’s chip-shot 29-yarder split the uprights as time expired, you had no chance.

What, was the team bus double-parked? Did London have reservations at the Hotel Roanoke?

Win or lose on Saturday, 2012 was already in the books as Virginia’s fifth losing season in the last seven years. With the loss, it’s now the second 4-8 season in London’s three-year tenure.

UVa. has now lost nine in a row to Virginia Tech. London has been on the sidelines for seven of those losses, four on the staff of the disgraced Al Groh.

Mickey Matthews at I-AA has more wins over Virginia Tech in the Facebook era than Groh and London combined.

(That streak continues, which means I still get to use that line in marketing speeches, about how Facebook is so relatively new that Virginia fans have yet to be able to write on Facebook that their football team beat Virginia Tech. Ditto for Twitter and fresh videos on YouTube. They did at least have Internet back in 2003, though it’s been so long that I may have to look that up to make sure.)

Either change is in the offing at Charlottesville, or the Cavs play in front of an ocean of empty seats in Scott Stadium again, except in the regular-season finale, when Hokie fans turn it into Lane Stadium North for the 10th straight victory in the series on the way to forever.


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