Home Missed kick, red zone struggles doom UVa. in 28-27 loss at Maryland

Missed kick, red zone struggles doom UVa. in 28-27 loss at Maryland


uva logoVirginia, trailing by a point, had a first down at the Maryland 27 with 1:11 to go. Three conservative running plays later, it was up to backup placekicker Alec Vozenilek to win it.

Vozenilek’s 42-yard field goal attempt pushed just wide right, and Maryland held on for a 27-26 win over a UVa. team that did everything but pull out the W.

“I wouldn’t characterize it as being conservative,” ‘Hoos coach Mike London said. “The biggest thing is to put yourself into a position where the playmakers can help extend the drives or get those first downs or get those points. You’ve got to give Maryland credit, they did a good job defensively on some things we tried to do. It came down to one last opportunity, and I guess it was wide right.”

Vozenilek had already made four field goals on the day, the result of UVa. inefficiency in the red zone. The Cavaliers (2-4, 0-2 ACC) racked up 506 yards of total offense, but could only manage two touchdowns in its six red zone trips.

Two of the red zone failures came after turnovers by Maryland (5-1, 1-1 ACC), including one in the fourth quarter on a muffed punt that set the Cavs up at the Terrapin 17. UVa. failed to get a first down on the ensuing possession and had to settle for a 26-yard Vozenilek field goal and a 26-20 Virginia lead with 7:11 to go.

The Cavs D had Maryland pinned back on a third-and-21 on the next possession, but Caleb Rowe found Deon Long behind the UVa. secondary and connected on a 47-yard pass play that set the Terps up in the red zone. Lowe then hit tight end Dave Stinebaugh on a 12-yard TD pass to make it 27-26 Maryland with 5:14 to go.

The teams traded possessions, with UVa. taking over at the Maryland 17 with 2:34 left and no timeouts. David Watford went 5-for-8 passing for 50 yards on the drive to get Virginia into field goal range. Maryland had two timeouts left, and London decided to call running plays to force the Terps to use the timeouts and milk the clock.

Kevin Parks ran twice, gaining two yards on first down and one yard on second down, before Watford ran a keeper on third down ostensibly to center the ball for the Vozenilek kick. He was tackled down on the left hash mark, perhaps adding to the difficulty of the potential game-winning kick.

Watford conceded as much after the game.

“Coach just wanted to run the clock out and kick the field goal. I was fine with that, and I probably should have centered the ball when I had the chance, instead of taking it as far left as I did,” said Watford, who was 27-for-44 for 263 yards and one touchdown.

Vozenilek called the kick “a makeable field goal.”

“You dream about stuff like that as a kid. It was a great opportunity. The team believed in me and I believed in myself. I just pushed it right,” Vozenilek said.



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.