clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Anemic offense and timeout mismanagement lead to 19-14 loss to No. 11 Miami

New, comments

That...was frustrating

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers had a chance to take down the No. 11 Miami Hurricanes on the road, making it all the more frustrating when they fell short, 19-14. With the loss, Virginia dropped to 1-4 on the season.

The timeout issue has been a problem all season, and tonight it really bit them as head coach Bronco Mendenhall called all three second-half timeouts by the 12:05 mark of the fourth quarter in a 12-point game. The first two timeouts were used as a gassed defense tried to get a goal-line stop, and the third was inexplicably called before a 2-pt conversion attempt after one of those attempted goal-line stops resulted in a touchdown (to be fair, the other stand was successful, and Miami had to settle for a field goal).

Brennan Armstrong returned after missing 1.5 games due to a concussion sustained against NC State, and the leftie slinger went 16-for-30 for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Ra’Shaun Henry and Tony Poljan hauled in the scores for the Hoos. Virginia was successful rushing, averaging 5.3 yards per carry for 185 yards, with Armstrong leading the way with 91 yards on the ground.

Virginia’s defense, which had been terrible in losses to NC State and Wake Forest, stepped up in a big way against the Canes. There are still significant issues in the secondary, a unit that has been decimated by injury, but the defense did enough to put the Hoos in a position to win. Instead, questionable play-calling and bad penalties killed promising drives and failed to give the defense much needed rest against an up-tempo opponent.

The Hoos were without Joey Blount and Brenton Nelson on defense and missing big freshman target Lavel Davis on offense.

Officiating in the game was terrible as Miami was gifted several first downs on terrible calls, but Virginia did enough on their own to lose the game.

The continued secondary woes were obvious from the get-go as Miami needed just two plays — passes for 32 and 43 yards to get on the board for a touchdown. It looked like things were going to play out like the last four games with the Hoos playing out of a big hole, but Virginia responded with a touchdown drive of their own. Mendenhall broke out the three-quarterback offense for the second-straight game, and Virginia went 64 yards on 11 plays to tie the game on a beautiful catch from TE Tony Poljan.

After the hot start, both teams cooled off. Two of the next three Miami possessions ended with punts, and Virginia tipped a field goal attempt to end the third and keep the scored knotted at 7-7. The Cavaliers punted twice before missing a field goal of their own on an increasingly maddening series of plays.

Facing 2nd-and-goal from the 7-yard line, Poljan was called for a false start that moved the Hoos back to the 12-yard line. A 12-yard sack on second down set up the Cavaliers for a 3rd-and-goal from the 24, and for a second it looked like Armstrong connected with Henry for a touchdown. Instead, it was called back for an ineligible receiver downfield. After a good pick up to get back within comfortable field goal range (35 yards), Brian Delaney pushed it wide.

Miami took a 10-7 lead on a 32-yard field goal with just over a minute left in the half, and Virginia was unable to get within range before time expired. The Hurricanes were lucky not to lose a second defensive player — safety Amari Cooper was ejected for targeting on the first defensive play of the game — as the booth failed to review an obvious targeting hit to WR Terrell Jana’s head.

Virginia rushed for 4.8 yards per carry in the first half, led by Taulapapa with 39 yards.

Neither team seemed particularly eager to score in the third quarter, with Miami pushing its lead to 13-7 on a 20-yard field goal with 3:47 left on the clock. The Canes had 1st-and-goal from the 4-yard line, but an exhausted Virginia defense came up with three stops to keep Miami out of the end zone.

Jana rattled off a 49-yard reception on the ensuing drive, but Virginia couldn’t make anything happen and gave the ball right back. Miami extended their lead to 19-7 with yet-another long drive kept alive by long third down conversions (and one terrible review by the refs).

Virginia made a game of it with just under 5:30 left to play in the game as Armstrong found Ra’Shaun Henry for a wide open touchdown to cap a 94-yard drive.

A questionable pass interference call against Nick Grant on third down allowed Miami to kill more clock, and Mendenhall’s timeout mismanagement came back to bite them big time.

There’s no time to lick wounds as a game against No. 14 North Carolina (which handily beat No. 23 NC State today) looms on the horizon. The Hoos and Heels square off in Charlottesville on Saturday at 8pm. The game will — you guessed it — be on ACC Network.