The Virginia Cavaliers lost for the third straight week, as the team succumbed 35-10 to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in Atlanta. The Hoos fell behind early and never managed to get anything going against a team that makes comeback attempts difficult. The loss drops UVA to 4-5 (2-3 ACC). With three games remaining (@FSU, vs. Miami, @VT), Virginia needs two wins to qualify for a bowl game.
The Wahoo defense got shredded by GT's triple option offense, allowing 409 total yards, 268 on the ground. QB Justin Thomas also managed to catch the secondary off guard at times, with three of his seven completions coming in the end zone for Tech touchdowns. UVA failed to contain the GT pitch early, losing assignments and allowing too many big plays; while the unit gained some consistency as the game progressed, it was simply too late against a ball control offense.
The defense was also overworked, as the offense couldn't stay on the field. UVA possessed the ball for just 21 minutes to GT's 39. Virginia finished with 22 rushing yards, as Kevin Parks carried the ball just 5 times for 13 yards. Greyson Lambert finished 19 of 32 for 230 yards, with a touchdown and 2 interceptions. Dropped passes were a major factor, as the absence of Miles Gooch was felt. Matt Johns replaced Lambert late in the game, likely as an attempt to find a spark, but neither he nor his receivers fared better.
The offense's strength is running the ball. UVA just won't win a football game where it throws 41 times and runs 16 times. While much of the disparity comes from the fact that the team trailed for almost the entire game, it's just not a formula that would ever lead to a win.
Things went sour early for UVA, as the Yellow Jackets put up 14 quick points. Virginia combined for 4 yards on its first two drives, and Georgia Tech took advantage of the early struggles to put up two quick scores. The Hoos answered with a nice drive of its own, when Lambert found Zachary Swanson for a touchdown, but that was the team's only time in the end zone. Georgia Tech scored again to take a 21-10 lead going into halftime; that would be more than enough, as Virginia failed to score in the second half once again. (Their last second half touchdown was against Kent State on 9/27.)
The Hoos had their chances, but once again failed to convert opportunities into points. Anthony Harris's interception gave the team the ball at the GT 25 yard line, and the Hoos moved inside the 5, but Lambert failed to connect with an open Keeon Johnson in the end zone. Before halftime, Virginia got the ball back and moved into Tech territory, but ran out of time after Lambert was sacked around midfield. Early in the third quarter, UVA moved to the edge of field goal range, but Lambert was intercepted on a tipped pass. On their next drive, Mike London elected to go for it on 4th and 8 (a reasonable decision down 18 points), but Lambert's pass in the end zone was again intercepted.
Amazingly, this is the first time this season that UVA was undeniably outplayed by its opponent. Of Virginia's first 4 losses, none came by more than one score and all featured major mistakes that could have flipped the outcome. UVA lost by more points against GT than its previous 4 losses combined
The Hoos return to action against Florida State in Tallahassee next Saturday at 6 PM, a game that will be televised nationally by ESPN. The good news: The Noles have looked vulnerable in recent weeks, eking out wins over Notre Dame and Louisville. (And we beat Louisville, remember!?) The worse news: UVA has to play WAY better to win against the #2 team in the nation.