Uncompromised Excellence? UVA football at the crossroads

UVaHelmet_1How do you not grade that game an F for UVA football, even with the Cavs escaping FCS foe William and Mary with the narrowest of 35-29 victories on Saturday?

The red marks on the paper abound.

  • The Tribe scored 2:03 into the game on a five-play, 75-yard drive.
  • The Virginia secondary was assessed two pass interference penalties on W&M’s first six pass attempts.
  • W&M scored on its first four possessions.
  • Matt Johns threw two interceptions in the first half. The second was benign, on an end-of-half Hail Mary. The first was butt ugly, on a checkdown to the tight end on which he somehow missed the linebacker sitting in front of the route.
  • The Cavs had William and Mary on the ropes after the 80-yard screen pass TD from Johns to Taquan Mizzell and the 74-yard punt return by Maurice Canady gave them a 35-20 lead with 10:00 left in the third. They would not score again.
  • Ian Frye missed twice on back-to-back kicks later in the third quarter, from 46 and 41 yards, the second attempt coming after W&M was assessed a five-yard running-into-the-kicker penalty. Frye was a weapon, but now with three misses in the past two weeks from makeable distances, he is no longer.
  • The special teams gave up an onside kick recovery to start the second half, and allowed a punt to be blocked in the end zone for a safety in the fourth quarter.
  • The offense had two opportunities to move the ball and run clock in the fourth quarter, and failed both times. The first came after the D had stopped the Tribe on fourth-and-goal at the 1. Three runs into the line produced no movement, and led to the blocked punt. Then after W&M scored to cut the lead to 35-29 at the 5:22 mark, and the Tribe out of timeouts, Virginia had the chance to kill the clock, and couldn’t move the ball, going three-and-out, allowing William and Mary to take over at their own 45 with 3:01 to go.
  • Another defensive secondary penalty, a holding call, allowed William and Mary to convert a fourth down on the final drive.

This isn’t counting the myriad issues with substitutions and plays called in to the offense too late forcing timeouts to be burned.

We’re in Year 6 of the Mike London era, and this is what we get. Against William and Mary. At home.

Uncompromised Excellence?

– Column by Chris Graham

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