augusta free press news

Silver lining in second half?

You might want to give Virginia an A for effort, but … don’t. Not yet.

“We drove the ball and were able to score and get on the board. The defense kind of responded a little bit. I’ll be able to tell you better tomorrow afternoon,” UVa. coach Mike London said after his team’s 34-14 loss to Florida State on Saturday.

Give the ‘Hoos some credit – not A-level credit, but some – for hanging in there after falling behind 27-0 at the half. A Marc Verica-to-Kris Burd 76-yard touchdown pass made it 27-7 3:47 into the third, and then Verica had the Cavs back in scoring range on their next drive, getting a first-and-10 at the FSU 30 on a 10-yard pass to Joe Torchia.

The first-down call from offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was pass, the primary receiver being senior wideout Dontrelle Inman. Verica faked a handoff and went to Inman down the sidelines into the end zone while Inman ran a deep slant. Greg Reid intercepted the ball, ending the Virginia threat, and an FSU touchdown on the ensuing drive all but sealed UVa.’s fate.

“They just weren’t together. There’s no faster or easier way to throw an interception than for the QB and the receiver not to be together,” said Lazor afterward, sidestepping assigning blame on either Verica or Inman for the result of the play.

Verica led another drive deep into FSU territory in the fourth quarter, but that one ended with another interception. Backup quarterback Ross Metheny got the Cavs on the board on an 11-yard touchdown pass to Colter Phillips with 1:39 left.

All the activity in the second half made the final stats look better than they should have been – FSU ended up with 428 yards of total offense to UVa.’s 304 yards, though the ‘Hoos had 262 yards of that total in the second half.

“This game is behind us now,” said senior tailback Keith Payne, who had 22 yards on six carries and 39 yards receiving on three catches. “We have a better idea of what we need to work on now, and we will bounce back from this.”

Column by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at