Ug-g-g-ly: Cavs sloppy, but survive Penn State, 17-16
UVa. (2-0) looked out of sorts from the get-go, particularly on offense, which in addition to the four turnovers managed to gain just 295 yards in total offense.
Penn State placekicker Sam Ficken would prove to be the difference, though, missing on field-goal tries of 40, 38, 20 and 42 yards and then missing a fourth-quarter extra point.
The final miss came on the final play of the game after Penn State had moved the ball to the Virginia 25 in the final 1:28 to set up a 42-yard field-goal attempt.
The Nittany Lions (0-2) got on the scoreboard first, on a 17-play, 75-yard game-opening drive that ended with a Matthew McGloin-to-Kyle Carter 8-yard touchdown pass that made it 7-0 Penn State.
The first of UVa.’s four turnovers came on its first play from scrimmage, a 10-yard pass from Michael Rocco to tight end Paul Freeman, whose fumble was returned by
Stephen Obeng-Agyapong to the Wahoo 17.
The UVa. defense, which limited Penn State to three points on the four Cav turnovers, all of which took place in Virginia territory, held and forced the first of Ficken’s misses.
Virginia’s only points of the first half came on a 46-yard Drew Jarrett second-quarter field goal.
The ‘Hoos scored on their first possession of the second half, driving 77 yards on 11 plays, with the touchdown coming on a Rocco-to-Jeremiah Mathis 1-yard pass that gave Virginia a 10-7 lead.
Penn State took the lead early in the fourth on 30-yard McGloin-to-Allen Robinson TD pass. The missed extra point by Ficken left the score at 13-10 Penn State, which extended the lead on Ficken’s one successful make of the day, from 32 yards, following a Phillip Sims fumble.
UVa. answered with a 14-play, 86-yard drive on which Rocco completed three third-down passes, two to tight end Jake McGee, including the 6-yard TD pass to McGee on third-and-goal with 1:28 to go that gave Virginia the eventual game-winning points.
Rocco finished the day 21-of-33 passing for 258 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw an interception and lost a fumble.
The Virginia running game could never get going, picking up just 32 yards on 25 carries.
UVa. goes on the road next week for its ACC opener at Georgia Tech.