Report Card: Grading out UVA’s performance in loss at Wake Forest

uva footballI had to wait on this one because I didn’t have access to anything other than counting statistics in the immediate aftermath of the 40-23 loss at Wake Forest on Saturday.

One of those things about covering sports in the COVID era that sucks.

Anyhoo …

Maybe a good thing, and something I’ll start doing from here forward.

I’m paying all this money for a Pro Football Focus subscription. Might as well use it.

Offense

Pro Football Focus grade: 65.1 (season rank: third in four games)

My grade: B

The 420 total yards was the second best in the four games.

I liked the hybrid QB gimmick that will probably only work that one time, but that one time, it worked.

The sum result was 202 yards passing, 144 yards rushing.

Not quite Bryce Perkins, but … close.

QB: Keytaon Thompson (PFF: 90.6), Iraken Armstead (PFF: 85.5), Lindell Stone (PFF: 44.3)

Understandable. Thompson (10 carries, 71 yards) and Armstead (six carries, 46 yards) were largely used in wildcat, and Stone was largely dropback (50 of his 77 snaps) or handing the ball off.

Stone was, well … Stone. His 44.3 grade was in line with his 44.2 grade in the NC State game.

Brennan Armstrong (PFF season grade: 75.7) can’t get healthy soon enough.

Run game: Wayne Taulapapa (PFF: 77.8), Shane Simpson (PFF: 57.8)

Should factor in the contributions of Thompson and Armstead here as well.

Taulapapa went for 68 yards on 10 carries, and Simpson added 24 yards on five carries.

Productive day overall: 198 yards on 34 runs.

Wideouts/tight ends: Tony Poljan (PFF: 72.3), Billy Kemp IV (PFF: 67.8), Terrell Jana (PFF: 66.4), Tavares Kelly Jr. (PFF: 61.0)

Notably missing: freshman Lavel Davis Jr. had two targets, no catches, which is inexcusable.

Highlights:

  • Kemp had nine catches on 12 targets with one drop, and 39 of his 68 yards were yards after catch.
  • Jana had four catches on eight targets, no drops, all four catches resulting in first downs.
  • Poljan had four catches on seven targets, no drops, two first downs, 20 yards after catch.
  • Kelly had five catches on seven targets, one drop, 19 of his 26 yards were YACs.

Line: PFF gave a 79.4 grade to the pass blocking, 58.0 to the run blocking

Right tackle Ryan Swoboda graded out the highest (PFF 79.7).

Ryan Nelson (PFF: 56.5, one hit, one hurry, two pressures) and Olusegun Oluwatimi (PFF: 58.7, two hurries, two pressures) had off-days.

Defense

Pro Football Focus grade: 61.1 (season rank: third in the four games)

My grade: C-

Too many big plays: Wake gained 314 of its 483 yards on seven of its 69 plays.

Run defense: PFF grade 68.7

Too many missed tackles – seven overall, according to PFF.

Three were from JMU grad transfer safety D’Angelo Amos (PFF: 58.0).

Nick Grant (PFF: 56.3) only missed one tackle. Unfortunately, it was the 75-yard TD by Kenneth Walker III that broke the 23-23 tie.

Pass rush: PFF grade 62.2

Right end Richard Burney (PFF: 70.3) had two sacks and a hurry, as did nose tackle Jowon Briggs (PFF: 68.3).

Outside ‘backer Noah Taylor (PFF: 57.1) had a sack, a hurry, four tackles and a forced fumble. Also had a missed tackle, and Wake was 2-of-3 throwing at him, for 23 yards.

Taylor dropped back in coverage on 14 of his 53 defensive snaps.

Outside ‘backer Charles Snowden (PFF: 64.7) had a hit and a hurry, seven tackles, and gave up one catch for nine yards (one target) on 17 dropbacks (among his 62 defensive snaps).

Secondary: PFF grade 50.0

Brenton Nelson (PFF: 32.0) was a disaster. Wake was 4-of-5 for 158 yards throwing at him.

The Deacs were 2-of-5 for 49 yards throwing at Grant.

De’Vante Cross (PFF: 61.8) allowed two catches on five targets for 27 yards.

Special teams: PFF grade 75.7

My grade: C

The kickers had their issues. Brian Delaney (PFF: 64.0) was 3-of-4 on field goal tries. Kickoff specialist Justin Duenkel (PFF: 65.3) had a kick go out of bounds.

Punter Nash Griffin (PFF: 68.8) was solid: 45.0 yards per punt, two inside the 20, one returned, for eight yards.

The rating was all about coverage (just the one punt return for Wake) and UVA getting 131 return yards from Kemp and Kelly.

Story by Chris Graham


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