Scott German: Upon further review
It may have taken just a bit longer than many expected, but eventually Virginia did what the Cavaliers were supposed to do, demolishing William & Mary 43-0 Saturday evening in Scott Stadium.
The Cavaliers totaled over 500 yards of offense and tossed a shutout on defense – their first since a 28-0 win over South Carolina in the 2018 Belk Bowl.
The rub for some may be the fact that it was a mere 10-0 game late in the first half, until inevitably Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong hit pace, and the Tribe simply could not keep up.
Armstrong’s most effective completion was a 5-yard touchdown pass on a fade route to Ra’Shaun Henry with 32 seconds left in the half. That score gave the Cavaliers a 17-0 lead and seemingly took the wind out of the Tribe.
Just a few plays earlier, it looked like W&M might enter the half down only 10. The Tribe offense, which had been stifled all game, picked up its first five first downs on just six snaps, but the drive stalled on the Virginia 10.
Following an unsportsmanlike penalty on third down, William & Mary missed a 42-yard yard field goal. Virginia then efficiently assembled a nine-play, 75-yard drive capped by the Armstrong-to-Henry pass to the corner of the end zone for the score.
The second half went as predicted, all Virginia, starting with a 65-yard touchdown pass from Armstrong to Derrick Starling that made it 24-0.
The Tribe, which hasn’t won their annual paid-to-play encounter with an FBS opponent in a dozen years, simply had no answers for Virginia.
So, the Cavaliers took care of business and now await Big 10 foe Illinois.
The Illini, after an opening game win over Nebraska, had a bit of a different experience in their battle yesterday. More on that later.
Mixed results for top teams
For No.1 Alabama, the Tide played like a team in midseason form, destroying No.16 Miami 44-13 in a game that wasn’t that close. The game clearly displayed the growing disparity in the gap between a team in contention for the College Football Playoff and most every other school.
No. 3 Oklahoma bolted out the gates against Tulane, but had to hold on down the stretch against the Green Wave, 40-35.
No. 5 Georgia’s defense dominated Clemson 10-3 with a huge opening game win that could have significant down the road implications for the playoff race for both teams.
The Tigers loss may prove lethal as Clemson’s remaining schedule doesn’t provide the meat the Tigers will need to make up ground.
ACC has rough opening weekend
Starting with No. 10 North Carolina’s ugly loss on Friday evening against Virginia Tech, Clemson put the finishing touches on a dreadful Week 1 for the ACC.
Looking back: Clemson gets manhandled by Georgia. Miami looked overwhelmed by Alabama, and while it’s no embarrassment in losing to Alabama, it was a striking statement of how far Miami is removed from being an actual national champion contender.
Georgia Tech, still trying to get its offense into the 21st century was beaten by Mid American Conference weakling Northern Illinois.
Synopsis, after one week the leagues three best teams are all 0-1. Not a good look.
Back to The Fighting Illini
After opening the season with a 30-22 Big 10 win over beleaguered Nebraska the Illini welcomed The University of Texas at San Antonio to Champaign Saturday.
Optically a bad loss for the Illini, but UTSA has some talent and was better than Nebraska. The loss might look awful on paper because it is the University of Texas at San Antonio, but the Rattlers were quick and took full advantage of the opportunity of winning a game against a Power 5 team.
The Bret Bielema era is just starting at Illinois. Big 10-ACC pride will be on the line Saturday for the 11 a.m. kickoff in Charlottesville.
Virginia will look to be over the hiccups encountered early on against William & Mary.
Story by Scott German