UVA overcomes sloppy first half, dominates Kent State, 45-13
UVA was outplayed in a sloppy first half by heavy underdog Kent State, but took control in a dominant third quarter and ultimately coasted to a 45-13 win in front of just 33,526 fans at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.
Virginia (3-2, 1-0 ACC) had come into the game as a 27-point favorite, but it was Kent State that came out swinging early, getting on the board first on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Colin Reardon to James Brooks barely six minutes into the game.
The Cavs didn’t get their first first down until the final minute of the first quarter, but still only trailed 10-7 at the end of the first 15 minutes because of a Maurice Canady 69-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The Golden Flashes (0-4) outgained Virginia 175-57 in the first quarter, but fell behind 46 seconds into the second quarter on a 25-yard TD pass from Matt Johns to Khalek Shepherd that gave the ‘Hoos a 14-10 lead.
UVA had chances to add to that lead, but Johns, who got the start in place of the injured Greyson Lambert, threw two interceptions in the red zone in the second quarter to snuff out drives, and appeared to be headed to the bench as third-stringer David Watford warmed up on the sidelines. A Kent State punt pinned the Cavs deep in their own territory in the final two minutes of the half, and coach Mike London elected to go with Johns to finish out the half.
UVA outgained Kent State 180-46 in the third quarter and led 38-10 at the end of three, and the rout was on.
Game Notes: UVA gained 520 yards total offense, its second straight 500-plus-yard game (519 yards last week against BYU). Kent State had just 58 yards total offense in the second half and finished with 318 yards for the game. Johns finished the game 17-for-28 passing for 227 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, and also ran five times for 65 yards. Parks had 61 yards on 12 carries, caught four passes for 43 yards, and scored two touchdowns, one on the ground and one in the air.