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Looking back at our Three Keys as UVA defeats Ohio

We gave you three keys to the game, here’s how it played out

NCAA Football: Virginia vs Ohio Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

No home game, no problem for the Virginia Cavaliers who traveled to Nashville and defeated the Ohio University Bobcats 45-31 Saturday afternoon. The Virginia offense dominated in all facets racking up 173 yards on the ground and 379 yards through the air. Olamide Zaccheaus stole the show accounting for 247 of those passing yards with touchdowns of 86 and 77 yards. The Hoos raced out to a 35-7 lead before making all of us sweat in the second half until a Zacchaeus 77 yard score midway through the fourth quarter punctuated the win. Here’s what we were looking for going into the game, and here’s how it played out in the Cavaliers’ win.

  1. Stop the Run - I really don’t want to throw cold water on a win where Virginia dominated all except about seven minutes, but if you had told me Virginia would hold the Bobcats to 118 yards rushing and recovered two fumbles, I’d say the Hoos win in a route. And maybe you could say 45-31 is a route, but don’t tell me you weren’t nervous with the Hoos leading 38-28 early in the third quarter with no momentum to speak of. Given the strength of this team’s secondary, it’s unnerving that Nathan Rourke was able to find his receivers at will throwing for 246 yards. The Hoos had no answer for Papi White allowing six receptions for 131 yards. In addition, Ohio was able to hit on big plays every time they needed them connecting on touchdowns of 36 and 37 yards. They buckled down when they needed to coming up a huge stop on fourth and three late in the third quarter to stop the bleeding, but going forward, the back end of the defense has to tighten up for the Hoos.
  2. Take the Pressure off Perkins - There’s no better way to take the pressure off your quarterback than to take the offense’s first touch 18 yards to the house for a touchdown. And that is exactly what Jordan Ellis did after the Hoos forced a fumble on Ohio’s first drive of the game. Not to be outdone, Zaccheaus broke a tackle on his first reception the following drive, going all the way for an 86 yard score. After running the ball 25 times a week ago, Perkins only rushed 10 times as he really didn’t have to. Ellis was strong, running it 19 times for 171 yards including touchdown runs of 18, four, and 75 yards. And Perkins was efficient getting the ball in the hands of his receivers completing 25 of 30 passes for 379 yards. And it wasn’t only Zaccheaus, as Perkins connected with six different receivers highlighted by Hasise Dubois with a career high six catches. If the Cavaliers can be that balanced without Perkins doing much on the ground, watch out.
  3. Get Zaccheaus going - Um, yeah, I’d say nine receptions for 247 yards in a record-setting performance is getting Zaccheaus going. Make that eight for nine Virginia wins when the senior wide receiver goes over 90 total yards in a game. And he just needed 1.5 receptions to get there. What I like most about Zacccheaus’ day is that most of his targets were close to the line of scrimmage. It highlighted his explosiveness accentuating the fact that he just needs the ball in his hands and he’ll make good things happen.

Virginia returns to action Saturday when they host the Louisville Cardinals. That game will be televised by the ACC Regional Sports Networks. Kickoff is at 12:30. Stick with all week as we bring you everything to get your ready.