The Virginia Cavaliers started off the 2018-19 season on the right foot with a 42-13 win over the visiting FCS Richmond Spiders. After a rushed pass by new quarterback Bryce Perkins led to a pick-six and a 7-0 deficit, Virginia outscored the Spiders 42-6 to pick up the victory.
So what did we learn from this game?
Bryce Perkins is good.
There may still be some lingering concerns around arm strength and decision making (see: the pick-six), but that was a strong debut. Perkins became the first Virginia quarterback to rush for over 100 yards and rush for two touchdowns in a game since Jameel Sewell in 2009. Sewell accomplished the feat over two separate games (Virginia Tech and So. Miss, respectively), whereas Perkins did it in the same game.
What’s crazier is that Perkins did both of those things in the first half as he amassed 109 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in the first 30 minutes of the game.
When all was said and done, Perkins finished with 293 all-purpose yards and had two passing touchdowns to go with those two rushing touchdowns. That’ll do, Bryce.
Run, Jordan, Run!!
Oh. My. Goodness. Hello, Jordan Ellis. The 5’10, 225 pound fourth year pounded the ball up and down the field to the tune of a career-high 146 yards and scored twice in the win. He averaged a ridiculous 7.3 yards per carry as he took advantage of huge lanes or just ran through defenders when no holes existed.
It was refreshing to see the coaching staff continue to call Jordan’s number, especially since there were several instances of that not being the case last season. It’s well-known that Ellis is one of the—if not THE—hardest workers on the team. That showed tonight, as did his physicality. Several times it looked like the Spiders got the beat on Ellis, only for him to bounce off and power for more yardage.
GIVE. JORDAN. THE. BALL.
Second guessing the secondary?
It’s hard to really complain when a group holds an opponent to no offensive touchdowns, pull in two interceptions, and break up five passes. There’s just something that made me a little uneasy watching Richmond pick up huge chunks of yardage several times over the course of the game. Part of the “problem” (which is really not a problem) rests with the fact that the young defensive line didn’t put much pressure on Kevin Johnson.
Johnson was 11-for-28 (39%) and 194 yards, meaning he was connecting for just shy of seven yards per completion. He had an accurate arm and made a couple passes work in good coverage, something that will happen.
It’s possible I’m more sensitive to this because I’m VERY bullish on this group. To be clear, this isn’t a concern that you should lose sleep over, but I’m going to be very attentive to this next game as the Hoos face Peyton Ramsey and Indiana. Ramsey was 20-for-27 with 156 yards and three touchdown passes in the Hoosiers’ win over FIU in their opener.
Dang it, ESPN.
If any of the above seem wrong it’s because I missed nearly a quarter and a half of the game thanks to ESPN’s stream being garbage and not working. Come on, y’all. It’s opening weekend.