I'm confused. Most of my friends are confused. My coworkers are confused. My bartender is confused. And we know that last one can have dire consequences.
What. Happened. On. Saturday?
Did the much-maligned Virginia offense outscore its west coast counterpart 20-7?
Did "lowly Virginia" beat the #7 team in the country in First Downs, Rushing Yards, Passing Yards, Total Yards, Penalties, Penalty Yards, Punt Yardage, Time of Possession, Third Down Conversions, Fourth Down Conversions, Field Goal Percentage, Sacks, Tackles for Loss, Pass Break Ups and probably several other stats that I can't decipher from the Box Score.
Did the Virginia defense make Heisman candidate Brett Hundley look more like a run-of-the-mill quarterback?
Did the Virginia defense have 16 tackles behind the line of scrimmage (11 TFL, 5 sacks) out of 77 total tackles (that's more than 1 out of every 5 tackles that was for negative yards)?
Did the Virginia offense struggle again under the... er... interesting... play-calling of Steve Fairchild?
Did we really manage to have a Quarterback Controversy (© Virginia Football) within the first half of the first game of a season in which we had a clear starter for the first time in forever just an hour earlier?
Did the Virginia secondary still manage to give 20 yard cushions a little too often for comfort?
Did the Virginia offense manage to give up 3x as many points as its defense did?
The answer, confusingly, is Yes. To all of those questions.
Unfortunately, the confusion probably won't be alleviated this weekend. The Spiders - two former Virginia quarterbacks and a half-dozen coaches with U.Va. ties notwithstanding - are unlikely to put up much of a fight. And we're likely to see both Greyson Lambert and Johns in the game. So we'll have to wait for the visit from the Cardinals to get some answers.
As always, some random musings:
- I was kind of excited to see the progress of Keeon Johnson after last year's performance. He's on the participation report, but is otherwise absent from the box score. Did I miss something? It's possible, I've been a little absent lately (sorry, fearless leader!)
- Johnson's absence was certainly overshadowed by the emergence of other receivers. Andre Levrone, Doni Dowling and Canaan Severin all began the process of making names of themselves. Levrone's TD catch got the #SCTop10 publicity, though Darius Jennings's TD catch was a nice grab as well.
- Matt Johns got a lot of props for his TD passes, but make sure to note that the one to Levrone was underthrown and was really a better play by the receiver than quarterback. But giving credit where credit is due, the teardrop to Jennings was a beauty.
- We also can't emphasize enough that it was Johns that botched the play call on third down in the final quarter. This is not intended to disparage the guy. Not at all. Its just intended to be a reminder to the fans that a) there's a reason Lambert won the starting job over both Johns and David Watford, and b) by having not been the starter, Johns missed out on working with the first team, making the calls under (admittedly simulated) pressure, etc.
- The defense. Man, the defense. It wasn't perfect. But holy cow. We might as well have set up shop in the Bruins' backfield.
- I was surprised to see that we had zero punt return yards. I came away thinking we did ok on that front. But thinking back it was probably just that we caught most of the punts cleanly. As Tiki pointed out, we need to do better. When's the last time we broke a big punt return?
- Props to Henry Coley on winning ACC linebacker of the week.
- Did I mention that Levrone and Dowling are both freshmen?
- Speaking of freshmen... Quin Blanding appears to be the real deal. Starting as a true freshman against a top 10 team and he puts up that kind of performance? Yep. I'm looking forward to a couple more years of this kid.