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From the Upper Deck: Hoos drop sixth straight

Big plays doom Cavaliers as they fall 31-17 at Georgia Tech

NCAA Football: Virginia at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia’s season to forget continued Saturday as they fell 31-17 to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Hoos had a 10-7 halftime lead and appeared to be bottling up the Georgia Tech triple-option. However, all it took was two second half touchdowns from the home team to put away a Virginia team who has done very little offensively in the second half recently. With the loss, the Hoos fall to 2-9 on the year with only a matchup with rival Virginia Tech left to come. In case you missed it, here is what we were looking for going into the game. And here is how it played out...From the Upper Deck.

  1. Be ready for the pass - As has become all too familiar a narrative for Virginia this season is that despite how well the defense plays, they continue to be undone by big plays. Georgia Tech scored three offensive touchdowns on the day and all three of them were 54 yards or longer. The 54 yard touchdown came through the air, while the other two were results of long run plays. In all three instances, the secondary was creeping up to stop the rush up the middle and therefore out of position when the ball came their way. In addition to the touchdown pass, Georgia Tech missed out another long bomb when Justin Thomas’s pass to a wide open (by ten yards) wide receiver Brad Stewart bounced out of Stewart’s arms. No matter how you cut it, the play of the secondary this season has been Virginia’s downfall.
  2. Just make plays Mr. Johns - Matt Johns got the start, and in the early going didn’t disappoint. He was effective in leading Virginia into the red zone on their second drive, and then led a 13 play 80 yard drive for a touchdown and an early 7-0 lead. On that drive he was 5-5 for 51 yards and looked like the breath of fresh air Virginia needed at the QB position. Then the second half happened. Three and outs on three of Virginia’s first four possessions and three interceptions in the half was just more of the same poor play Virginia has seen all season. A lack of consistency has plagued Virginia all season long whether it’s been Kurt Benkert or now Matt Johns, and until that gets figured out, this team will continue to struggle.
  3. Show me something - I wish I could say that some underclassmen have really stuck out in recent weeks as that would bode well for the future. And maybe just by virtue of all the experience they’re getting, you can say it’s a good thing. But on Saturday it was a senior who showed me something. Much maligned during his first two years as a Cavalier and labeled as a bust, Taquan Mizzell has now put together two exceptional seasons during his third and fourth year campaigns. Quietly he’ll go down as one of Virginia’s best playmakers and Saturday was no different. The senior ran the ball 24 times for 131 yards and added 45 more yards on six receptions. It was one of the best outings I’ve seen from him running between the tackles in addition to his work in the open field. With the direction the running back position is going these days, I have no doubt he’ll be playing on Sundays next year and will have a chance to step in right away and make a difference for the team fortunate enough to snag him.

The Hoos conclude the season next weekend against Virginia Tech. Virginia will look to get their first win against the Hokies in thirteen tries. It won’t come easy as Virginia Tech is 8-3 on the year after their 34-31 win at Notre Dame. The game kicks off at noon and will be televised by ESPN2. Stay with Streaking the Lawn all week as we get you ready for the Hokies and as always...GO HOOS!