Ho-hum. Virginia jumped out to a 31-7 halftime lead and didn’t let up in rolling past visiting VMI 48-7 Saturday in Charlottesville.
Marc Verica threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns, and coach Mike London got some live game action for his two freshman backups, Ross Metheny and Michael Rocco, each of whom took their first snaps as collegians and posted their first career TD passes.
“We talked a lot about not having a (second) quarterback with any game experience, and there wasn’t a clear-cut guy over the next guy. The next best thing was to put them in a venue, in a game, and see how they manage the game outside of practice,” London said after the game, which wasn’t much in question after UVa. (2-1) scored three touchdowns in an eight-minute span overlapping the end of the first quarter and the first six minutes of the second quarter.
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After a Cameron Jones-to-Robbie White one-yard touchdown pass tied the game at 7-7 with 2:35 to go in the first, Virginia’s Raynard Horne took the ensuing kickoff back to the house 87 yards for a touchdown that made it 14-7 UVa.
A pair of Verica TD passes, to Kris Burd and Dontrelle Inman, extended the lead to 28-7 by the 9:07 mark in the second quarter.
Burd and Inman continued their solid early-season play – with Burd hauling in eight passes for 119 yards and one TD and Inman making five catches for 72 yards and two TDs.
The passing game was key because VMI stacked the box on defense to try to take away Virginia’s running game. The Cavs ran the ball 36 times for 125 yards against the Keydets, but got 341 yards through the air.
“When you play with your safety down in the middle, you do a lot of things to stop the run, and that means you put your corners out there playing one-on-on. Even though they might be playing a third, it’s still one-on-one. We just wanted not to force anything but to take what they gave us. I thought Marc, Ross and Michael did a good job of distributing the ball,” London said.
VMI (1-2) could manage only 179 yards of total offense on the day, including just 46 yards rushing on the ground on 33 carries.
“This game was a chance for us to measure ourselves,” VMI coach Sparky Woods said. “The disappointing thing is that we played poorly as a team. When you’re not executing well and you’re punting the ball, that’s OK, but if they do it because you’re out of position, that’s not okay. That’s something that you can control no matter what level of football you play.”
Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at [email protected].