It had been five seasons since the Cavalier faithful witnessed a 2-0 start for their football team. Today, this negative streak continued.
In a poor special teams and offensive showing, the defense was the lone positive, although it too made copious mistakes.
Balance was not shown when Virginia had the ball. Kurt Benkert was forced to throw 66 times in the game. The quick throw game was working, but the deep balls were not. In the late stages, the short routes were identified by the Hoosier defense and prevented the Hoos from doing anything.
Indiana scored on a 44 yard punt return that summarized the way portions of the game went for Virginia. The ‘Hoos had prevented IU from putting the game totally away by stopping them from scoring on a 4th and 3 on the UVA 3, but then could not move the ball and were forced to punt. On the ensuing boot, J-Shun Harris took it to the house making the score an insurmountable 34-17.
The run game was abysmal. On 23 attempts, UVA only gained 47 yards. Benkert was only sacked once, so you can’t even argue that his stats affected the numbers in that category.
The longest pass play of the night was a 20 yard flare to Olamide Zaccheaus, who was uncovered on the wide side of the field. This was a part of the problem. There were plenty of shots taken deep. Unfortunately, the majority of these such plays seemed to be token attempts. It was as if Benkert wasn’t as confident as he was last week. Either that or the play calling was just designed to deceive the Indiana defense into thinking Virginia wanted to go deep. Regardless, the strategy didn’t work.
Indiana started the game out on offense with Richard Lagow at QB. He was stifled the entire 1st quarter so Coach Tom Allen pulled him in favor of more mobile Peyton Ramsey, who wore down the Wahoo defense.
Ramsey literally in stages of the game was running circles around certain Cavalier defenders. Tommy McKee did the same thing for William and Mary last week.
Coach Bronco Mendenhall will have an entire week to figure out what to do about the lack of a running attack and how to stop mobile QB’s. If not, then things will not improve for this football team.