Report Card: Grading out Virginia’s 44-41 win over #15 North Carolina
Brennan Armstrong (PFF grade: 68.0) gets extra points because he toughed out everything: 12-of-22 passing, 208 yards, three touchdowns, one INT, 66 yards and a TD on 20 carries on the ground.
Virginia isn’t anywhere near winning without Armstrong doing what he did.
Keytaon Thompson (PFF grade: 64.2) saw a season-high 39 snaps, a mix including in wildcat, in motion under center, at wideout, and the one in punt formation that he turned into a 5-yard gain on the fake punt that sealed it with 2:02 to go.
His night’s work: 10 carries, 43 yards, one TD, on a 1-yard run lined up as a tailback in goal line.
Running backs: A
Shane Simpson (PFF grade: 76.3) had a night: 70 yards on the ground on eight carries, and a 71-yard short catch and long run TD reception.
Wayne Taulapapa (PFF grade: 66.3) didn’t have the counting numbers – 29 yards and a TD on 10 runs – but his blocking graded out great (pass blocking: 79.2, run blocking: 64.9), including the seal block on the KT TD run just before halftime, and a lead block springing a long BA run in the third quarter.
Wideouts/tight ends: A
Just one drop on the night. The guy with the drop, Ra’Shaun Henry (PFF grade: 59.8), made up for it, catching an 18-yard TD pass against tight coverage on a third-and-long.
Tony Poljan (PFF grade: 69.8) and Billy Kemp IV (PFF grade: 69.8) put up the best grades. Poljan had two catches on four targets for 33 yards and a TD. Kemp had four catches on six targets for 37 yards, with two of his catches going for first downs.
Offensive line: A
- RT Bobby Haskins (PFF grade: 77.2): 31 snaps
- C Olusegun Oluwatimi (PFF grade: 74.7): 64 snaps, one penalty, two allowed pressures
- LG Dillon Reinkensmeyer (PFF grade: 68.7): 31 snaps
- LT Ryan Nelson (PFF grade: 68.2): 62 snaps
- LG Joe Bissinger (PFF grade: 65.3): 44 snaps
- RG Chris Glaser (PFF grade: 58.7): 75 snaps, one allowed pressure
- RT Ryan Swoboda (PFF grade: 57.8): 58 snaps, four allowed pressures
- C Gerrik Vollmer (PFF grade: 56.0): 11 snaps
Defensive front: A
Carolina came in averaging 245.0 yards per game on the ground. Virginia allowed the Tar Heels a net 93 yards Saturday night.
You wouldn’t need to say more, but then: five sacks, 15 QB pressures.
Outside ‘backer Charles Snowden (PFF grade: 69.6) is an ACC player of the week (10 tackles, four sacks, five total QB pressures, one forced fumble, no missed tackles).
Nose tackle Jowon Briggs (PFF grade: 72.4) graded out the highest. His counting stats are modest – three tackles, one QB pressure on 48 sacks – but Briggs was a key up front to containing the run.
The other outside ‘backer, Noah Taylor (PFF grade: 69.0), had six tackles and a pressure.
Inside ‘backer Nick Jackson (PFF grade: 64.2) had nice counting numbers – 11 tackles, a sack, three pressures. His grade was a little lower likely because UNC was 2-of-3 passing for 37 yards on targets against him.
Being generous here. When the front controls the run and gets 15 pressures on the quarterback, said quarterback shouldn’t have the night that Sam Howell had – 23-of-28, 443 yards, four TDs.
Being fair, yes, Virginia was missing Joey Blount, Brenton Nelson, Darrius Bratton, Fentrell Cypress.
Sophomore safety Coen King (PFF grade: 68.8) was more than adequate in limited action (29 snaps). Howell was 2-of-3 for nine yards targeting King.
De’Vante Cross (PFF grade: 30.0) was picked on something awful. Howell was 8-of-9 on targets against Cross, for 207 yards.
Special teams: B
What’s up with Brian Delaney (PFF grade: 53.4)? Guy missed an extra point. He’s quickly becoming unreliable in a spot that had finally seemed to have stability for the first time in forever.
Punter Nash Griffin (PFF grade: 61.2) had a nice night, small sample size: only had to punt twice, and one of them was fumbled, leading to a UVA TD. Let’s credit Griffin with doing something with the spin to cause that fumble.
Kickoff guy Justin Duenkel (PFF grade: 63.3) had five touchbacks on eight kickoffs. Nice work there.
Kick coverage was good: the aforementioned fumble recovery on a muffed punt, two kickoff returns for a total of 44 yards.
Return game: one punt return, Tavares Kelly Jr. (PFF grade: 56.5), for 12 yards.
Story by Chris Graham