Stop me when you've heard this one before.
On the final Saturday of the 2013 Virginia football season, the Cavalier offense sputtered and spoiled a strong defensive outing. Virginia Tech prevailed 16–6 to win the Commonwealth Cup for the 10th consecutive year.
The Hokies and Hoos traded field goals on each team's first two possessions of the game. Logan Thomas was spraying the ball all over the field, rarely in the proximity of his receivers. Virginia's run game came out strong, with David Watford finally looking willing to initiate contact at the end of his carries and Kevin Parks continuing his impressive season.
Soon, however, the old familiarities returned. Instead of taking a five-yard delay of game penalty to turn a 29-yard Alec Vozenilek attempt into a 34-yarder, London called a timeout. Instead of punting on 4th and 11 at the VPISU 35, the Hoos went for it; Tech took advantage of the short field to punch in what would be the game's only touchdown with seconds remaining in the first half.
We also saw why the coaches have stuck with Watford despite his issues this year. Greyson Lambert may actually have never been ready for primetime this year. Watford's 13/23, 122 yard day was frustrating to watch at times. But when Lambert came in to play the tail end of the third quarter and the entirety of the fourth, the wheels came off what little offense the Hoos had mustered. Lambert finished 4/16 for 54 yards and a pick. On every play, he looked to go vertical even when underneath timing patterns could have kept the offense in rhythm and on schedule.
It would be nice to brush off this loss with the knowledge that at least the worst is behind us. After all, this was the worst season for Virginia football since Dick Bestwick's final season in 1981 (1–10 overall, 0–6 in the ACC). But with the athletics administration stating publicly and privately that London will return for 2014, the only hope for Wahoos fans is that there will be marked, dramatic improvement across the board: from game-planning and play calling, to play execution on the filed, to in-game situational management by the coaches.
No post-game recap would be complete without acknowledging the contributions of the eight seniors who played their final game as Cavaliers. Brent Urban and Jake Snyder spent most of the day in the Hokie backfield. Luke Bowanko, Morgan Moses and Billy Skrobacz opened up holes for Parks and the other talented backs. Tim Smith and Rijo Walker also participated. (If you can't say something nice...) R.C. Willenbrock will depart the team, taking an all-conference name with him. We hope to see Sean Cascarano again after he recovers from his season-ending hip injury.
At least now it's basketball season.