Virginia entered a Friday night contest against Boise State with the opportunity to show the nation that the narrow loss to Notre Dame two weeks earlier was no fluke. The team - and its fans - instead spent Friday night getting absolutely hammered.
The tone was set on the first play from scrimmage for the Cavaliers. As Matt Johns dropped back to pass, a blitzing Kamalei Correa grabbed Johns around the waist. Rather than take the sack, Johns flipped an errant pass to his right that was picked off by defensive tackle Justin Taimatuia, who subsequently rumbled 21 yards to cap the Pick-6 and put the Broncos up 7-0 with a mere 14 seconds having disappeared from the clock.
After the next Virginia drive stalled, Boise State's offense needed only six plays to score a touchdown, highlighted by Jeremy McNichols' 47 yard run on 3rd and 1. On the next Virginia drive, Johns was intercepted again, and Boise State converted a 51-yard field goal to push the lead to 17-0.
Virginia would finally get on the board midway through the first quarter when Johns found a streaking T.J. Thorpe on the left sideline for a 75 yard touchdown pass, one of two highlight plays for Virginia all game.
After the teams traded a four punts and a pair of missed field goals, the Broncos again used a six play drive to find the end zone. Other than a single run for no gain, each of the plays run by Boise State went for 10 or more yards, capped by a 10 yard pass from Brett Rypien to McNichols. Two plays later, Johns was called for intentional grounding in the end zone, and the Broncos held a 26-7 lead, and added a field goal on the subsequent short field to increase the lead to 22.
The Virginia offense offered fans a glimmer of hope in the closing minutes of the first half when Johns found a slanting Taquan Mizzell on a 15 yard pass across the middle that Mizzell took another 30 yards for a touchdown, cutting the deficit to 15 points at the half.
Boise State, however, hit the finishing combo seven minutes into the third quarter. After a 14 play drive ended with a field goal, the Broncos scooped up a Mizzell fumble on Virginia's 30 yard line. Rypien threw his second touchdown pass of the night on the next play, hitting Thomas Sperbeck in the end zone to make the advantage 39-14 and sending the Virginia fans to the parking lot.
The Broncos would add two more touchdowns - another Johns interception returned for a touchdown and a 64 yard bomb from Rypien to Sperbeck - along with another field goal to complete the destruction.
The team stats are indicative of the complete meltdown Virginia suffered. The Hoos amassed a measly 40 yards of rushing to go with 233 yards through the air. They turned the ball over 5 times and committed 9 penalties for 80 yards. After three promising performances, Matt Johns completed only 12 of 25 passes for 199 yards. His two touchdown passes were offset by three interceptions, two of which were returned for Boise State touchdowns. Connor Brewer did replace Johns late in the third quarter, only to register an interception when Canaan Severin bobbled a pass, allowing Donte Deayon to grab the ball.
On the other sideline, freshman Brett Rypien completed 24 of 35 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns, marking the second time this season a freshman making his first collegiate start has lit up the Virginia defense.
With the loss, Virginia finishes their out of conference slate of games at 1-3, and will need to go 5-3 in the ACC to get to a bowl game. In order to accomplish this, the next two games (at Pittsburgh on October 10 and at home against Syracuse on October 17th) are now almost certainly must win contests for the Cavaliers.