Following last week's performance, tonight's game at Indiana didn't quite turn out how the Hoos were expecting. The tone was set when Michael Rocco's long ball intended for Tim Smith fell well short of the target on the opening play of the game, and instead found its way into Greg Heban's hands. The Virginia defense would hold the Hoosiers to a missed field goal on that possession. Here are a few scattered thoughts from tonight's 34-31 thriller in Bloomington.
Virginia put up 10 points in the final 32 seconds of the first half, and another much-needed 11 points in the final 96 seconds of the second half. That's a lot of compressed scoring, and I think it's a good sign that our 2-minute offense has a little bit of bite to it.
My game ball has to go to Cam Johnson (and I suspect most of you would agree here). I've watched that play on repeat and in slow motion, and I still can't figure out how he performed that magic trick. If you don't know what I'm talking about, there are video highlights at the end of this. Fast forward to the 1:21 mark where Johnson not only sacks Indiana QB Edward Wright-Baker, he finds a way to strip the ball deep in Virginia territory to set the Hoos up for what would become the game-winning field goal.
The Virginia defense gave up a whopping 319 total yards, but blaming the defense for how close the game was would be a mistake. After all, Indiana's final three touchdowns all came from (i) a muffed punt, (ii) a fumble by Perry Jones and (iii) a very bad interception from Rocco.
Speaking of that interception, Rocco threw two INTs today -- a number that nobody should be proud of. There's nobody to blame for that interception that came late in the game other than Rocco himself. The offensive line afforded him plenty of protection, and at the end of the day, Rocco had made a poor decision throwing into triple coverage.
Virginia fans can argue about the muffed punt (which, prior to watching any replays, I agreed with). After watching the replays, it certainly wasn't clear that any Cavalier touched the ball before an Indiana Hooser fell on it to force the turnover. But let's call it a wash, considering that a call originally ruled a safety for Indiana was changed into a third and long situation. The officiating crew from tonight's game made ACC refs look good.
How about Robert Randolph? The senior went 4-for-4 tonight and is a perfect 8-for-8 on the season. It's nice to know that, among an otherwise very young and inexperienced team, Virginia's kicker can be relied upon for a consistent three points, including tonight's game winner as time expired.
Six penalties for 51 yards -- still something that London and company are going to have to work with. It might not matter much next week against a penalty-prone Carolina squad, but at some point, Virginia simply just needs to play a cleaner brand of football.
We'll have some more thoughts on the game in the days to come. Meanwhile, here are video highlights: