Game Preview: Trap game for UVA football with William and Mary on Saturday?
You want to feel good about a team that had the ninth-ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame on the ropes until a last-minute long touchdown pass snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in what turned into a 34-27 win over the good guys in orange and blue.
But there is relatively recent ill will related to William and Mary, which in 2009 helped usher in the end of the Al Groh era with a season-opening 26-14 win over the ‘Hoos in Scott Stadium.
After dropping games with a pair of Top 25 teams to start the season, and a game with another national power, Boise State, on the schedule for next week, this game with the Tribe has all the feeling of the classic trap game.
W&M, coming off a bye, apparently doesn’t even merit a betting line from Vegas, so it’s expected to be a cakewalk.
But you remember 2009, not to mention 1990, when William and Mary put up 35 points in a loss to a Top 5 Virginia team, and 1989, when star quarterback Shawn Moore went down to injury in a 24-12 win that proved costly.
How this one breaks down …
UVA offense vs. William and Mary defense: Virginia looked a lot better last week in the loss to Notre Dame, putting up 416 yards of total offense, with Matt Johns completing 26 of his 38 pass attempts for 289 yards, and the running game gaining 127 yards on the ground. Lafayette gained 332 yards on the W&M defense in the Tribe’s only game to date in 2015, most of that through the air (243 yards on 31-of-45 passing).
William and Mary offense vs. UVA defense: Tribe QB Steve Cluley was 20-for-30 passing in the 34-7 win over Lafayette for 289 yards. Mikal Abdul-Saboor ran for 103 yards on 17 carries as the Tribe ran up 194 yards on 41 carries overall. Virginia’s D has stopped no one yet, allowing an average of 481.5 yards per game, 279 through the air and 202.5 on the ground.
Special Teams: UVA placekicker Ian Frye had a key miss from 43 yards in the loss to Notre Dame. Punter Nicholas Conte is averaging 48.7 yards per kick, but just two of his nine punts have been downed inside the 20.
How this one plays out: Virginia will play this one as vanilla as it can, with a basic game plan aimed at not giving Boise State anything else to look at going into next week. It will come down to blocking, tackling, athleticism and turnovers. William and Mary will hang around for a while, but Virginia pulls away in the third quarter. Final: UVA 34, William and Mary 17.
– Preview by Chris Graham