You've read it everywhere around the 'net -- it's Grohtoberfest! And while stranger things have happened, one of the most puzzling things across the country right now is that Virginia stands alone atop the ACC Coastal Division at 2-0. With a 20-9 victory over the Maryland Terrapins, Al Groh appears to be up to his usual antics in creating a comeback kid of a team in hopes of making the post-season and, most importantly, saving his job.
Just as against North Carolina, this was by no means a pretty battle. For much of the game, it wasn't so much a defensive battle as it was an offensive ineptitude. But you know what? I take the victories where I can get them. And last night, much of the praise went to big Nate Collins, with an interception return in the third quarter that sent across the message to everyone watching that this was the game.
But the victory was not without sacrifices. Mikell Simpson didn't play in order for us to have a fully healthy team next week against the powerful Georgia Tech Ramblin' Wreck (God bless 'em for topping the Hokies last night!), it doesn't look like we'll be fortunate enough to have that. Jameel Sewell went down and was on crutches after an injury to his right ankle. It looked like, though, he was able to walk without the crutches, and seemed confident the injury wouldn't keep him sidelined. DE Michael Conrath, however, was not so fortunate, as he also went down due to his right ankle, but had it wrapped for the remainder of the game.
And of course, the oh-so-versatile Vic Hall was all over the place once again. Vic led the team in receptions for the second game in a row, and when he wasn't too busy running his routes, he was out there breaking up passes as safety. He's truly a special player.
What is interesting is that Virginia went into Saturday's matchup ranked 117 (out of 120, folks) in sack avoidance. Obviously, it was a goal fo ours to protect Sewell, and a goal of Sewell's to get rid of the ball. That didn't so much happen, as Sewell went down five times in the backfield -- and that was just through three quarters, as he was injured during the entire fourth! All 24 sacks against Virginia this year have come with Sewell calling the shots.
"I got back to holding the ball a little bit too long," Sewell said. "I put my linemen in a bad situation. They can't block forever. I've just got to work on getting that ball out."
Yes. Yes you do.
Until then, we will continue enjoying our place at the top of the ACC, even if (a) it hasn't been pretty, (b) we're 3-3 overall and (c) we've only played two ACC games, compared to most other teams' 4 or 5. It's a strange world out there. Rest assured that the "Groh Must Go!" chanters are still out there in full force, and can't wait for November to come around.