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First half observations for Virginia football against Boston College

What we learned from the best half of Virginia football so far this season.

NCAA Football: Virginia at Boston College Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers are leading the Boston College Eagles 21-7 at halftime. There have been some highlight plays and a string of continued bonehead errors. After 30 minutes, we have a few observations for the Wahoos.

Tony Muskett is UVA’s starter (for now)

In his first half since the Tennessee blowout in week one, Tony Muskett displayed why he won the starting quarterback job in the offseason and why the Virginia coaching staff has remained committed to him as the starter despite Anthony Colandrea’s electric play.

Muskett’s arm strength, accuracy, and mobility all stood out in the first half against Boston College. He threw for 218 yards and three touchdowns on 16-for-21 passing. He’s a good decision maker and has the arm talent to make all the throws.

That’s not to say Muskett was perfect or that Colandrea won’t get another opportunity this season. But, all things considered, this was a really good start for Muskett. Now it’s about getting him and the offense back into a consistent rhythm in the second half.

Virginia’s defense contains Thomas Castellanos’ legs

The final defensive drive of the half was... unfortunate to say the least. But UVA’s defense largely stymied the Eagles in the first half, notably containing BC quarterback Thomas Castellanos as a runner. He only picked up 31 yards on eight carries with his one long 18-yarder dramatically improving his yards per carry (3.9).

Virginia’s linebackers and defensive line half controlled the line of scrimmage against BC. As a team, Boston College averaged a mere 2.9 yards per carry in the first half. The ‘Hoos have also done well to maintain their rush lanes when rushing the passer, and the trio of Josh Ahern, James Jackson, and Kam Robinson have been stellar against the run and the pass.

Fields and Washington continue to be studs

This isn’t groundbreaking, but Malik Washington and Malachi Fields continue to be an absolutely studly duo for the ‘Hoos as receivers, combining for 11 catches for 177 yards and two touchdowns through thirty minutes. Fields’ absurd touchdown catch to close the second quarter saved what had been an atrocious end to the half. His jump-ball ability is legit.

Small mistakes aren’t going anywhere

The ‘Hoos were lucky to get the final untimed down of the half where Muskett found Fields, because before then Muskett had been flagged for intentional grounding but was saved by a players’ helmet coming off in the middle of the play.

Penalties continue to be an issue for Virginia on either side of the ball, and the commitment to the running game (which still hasn’t been working beyond RB and QB draws) on offense is a bit much with the offensive line’s inconsistencies. Nevertheless, the ‘Hoos made enough plays to carry a 21-7 lead into the locker room. Now it’s about finishing the job.