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Report Card: Grading out Virginia’s 44-41 win over #15 North Carolina

Quarterbacks: A-

uva footballPro Football Focus doesn’t necessarily agree, but I don’t think I’m grading on the curve here at all.

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

Individual grades:

  • 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.

Secondary: D

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.

Still, yikes.

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