What I Saw This Weekend
Saturday, October 23 2010 by Tim
Earlier this week, I pointed out five things I wanted to see during the game against EMU. So now the Cavs have beaten the Eagles 48-21 (we covered! yay! …), so let’s go back and take a look at how we did on those five things:
Domination in the trenches:
We were somewhat successful here, but definitely not as much as I would have liked. We gained 181 yards on the ground, which was 50 more than our average, so that part was good. Both Perry Jones (5.7 ypc) and Keith Payne (5.3 ypc, 2 TDs) were successful, so that’s good. But we didn’t exactly dominate. We didn’t get a lot of push with the line and we didn’t completely control the line like we should have against an inferior opponent.
On the other side of the ball, things look a lot worse. EMU picked up 290 yards on the ground, which is more than double what they average and 50% more than what we normally give up (even when counting the GT game). To be fair, not all of that was completely the fault of the line play – quite often those yards came on long runs around the edges.
One somewhat positive thing is that the ‘Hoos defense held the Eagles to only about 90 yards rushing in the second half after giving up around 200 in the first half. That’s a much more reasonable per-half total.
This was the simplest of the things I was looking for. It’s also the most glaringly problematic thing about our team. I’d say we did better than last game – there were a number of occasions where I actually thought to myself “he wrapped up well.” But it’s still very clearly a problem. We need to get better at this if we’re going to have a chance against anyone else on our schedule.
Limit Big Plays:
This is the other glaringly problematic thing about our team, and it continued this week as well. Eagle running back Javonti Greene had two touchdown carries of more than 50 yards. Their quarterback Alex Gillett had a touchdown run of 31 yards. You’ll note that they only scored three times on us, so all of their points came off of big plays. This is going to be a big issue next week against Miami with all the speed and talent they’re bringing to Charlottesville.
Play Three Quarterbacks:
Well, I guess technically we succeeded at that. Marc Verica, Mike Rocco and Ross Metheny all had snaps under center. But I’m pretty sure that’s not what I was talking about.
Verica played all but the final two series, in large part because it wasn’t until around then that the game was completely under control. Rocco came in for one series and was 1 for 2, gaining 11 yards on that one pass. His completion was a nice one, and his incompletion was a timing route where he just didn’t quite thread the needle correctly. Virginia kicked a field goal on that drive. I didn’t learn much of anything about Rocco from that. At least I couldn’t tell if he called any wrong formations this week…
Metheny came in for the final series, which didn’t really even count. I think he handed the ball off once. Didn’t attempt a pass. Heck, Jimmy Howell had more attempts than he did.
Progress, Toughness and Emotion:
I’m not sure what to say about this one. It was hard to tell if there was progress or if we just had some good luck against a bad opponent. The team seemed to play with a decent amount of energy and emotion. And you can certainly say they had some toughness – bouncing back from the Eagles tying the game and getting within three twice was an important step. It would have been easy for this team – after the performances they’ve had recently – to start to crumble. But they didn’t. After EMU scored to make it 24-21 midway through the third quarter, the defense held them scoreless and the offense would go on a 24 point run (with some help from the special teams unit).
I do have to point out a few other random things:
- You’ve gotta be happy with the performance of TFD this game. He scored his first touchdown of his career on a three yard pass from Marc Verica in the third quarter. Exactly two minutes later, he ran a kickoff return back for a touchdown to start that 24 point run.
- Two other players had their first career touchdowns. Sophomore Paul Freedman caught a 21 yard pass from Marc Verica in the first quarter (how about that block by Dontrelle Inman, btw). Trey Womack also scored on a 56 yard pass from punter Jimmy Howell on a fake punt.
- Speaking of that fake punt, Eagles coach Ron English got very upset about something and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. I assume by the hand gestures that he thought our cut block on the fake punt was illegal. I’m sure that he’ll find out he was wrong, just like the SC refs did.