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Report Card: Grading out Virginia’s 41-23 loss at Clemson

QB: B-minus

uva footballThis one’s hard. Brennan Armstrong was Bryce Perkins tonight – throwing for 270 and three scores, running for 89.

But the two picks – one in the second quarter, setting up a short Clemson TD drive, the other in the third quarter, on an underthrown fade to 6’7” freshman Lavel Davis Jr. – were the difference.

Running game: B

This is mostly Armstrong, which is vexing. Wayne Taulapapa and Shane Simpson got 16 carries total. Why Robert Anae didn’t go to them more is something for him to think through.

The running game is supposed to help make life easier for the QB.

When the QB has to also be the running game, not sure that’s how it’s supposed to work.

Offensive line: B

Clemson had three sacks. Armstrong seemed to have enough time to throw. The INTs weren’t rush throws.

Defensive front: B

Clemson ran for 137 yards. I think you tell Nick Howell and Kelly Poppinga that Clemson is going to gain 137 on the ground going in, they’re happy as clams.

Pass defense: D

This might be generous. The coverage scheme was loose, meaning, you’re going to lay off, and then tackle them.

Problem: they didn’t tackle.

Travis Etienne had 114 yards on five catches, all passes in the flat that he just turned into big plays – three of them third-and-long conversions – by breaking tackles.

Clemson didn’t do anything special in the passing game. That was about as basic a pass offense as you will see that worked as well as that one did Saturday night.

Special teams: D-minus

Nash Griffin was solid – 46.5 yards per punt, two boots going 50+.

Brian Delaney made a field goal, but blew a kickoff that went out of bounds, setting up Clemson in good field position on what turned into a Tigers TD that would make it a three-score game after Virginia had cut the margin to 27-17.

The kick return group also gave up a long return into plus territory that turned into three points.

D-minus is generous. You can’t give the other guys 10 points on special teams.

Story by Chris Graham

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