Hello again and welcome to this week’s edition of trying to mow the lawn with a pair of scissors. Yes its slow and wildly inefficient, but you can definitely start to see the progress when looking at the big picture.
Game Recap in Three Sentences
A tight game, the result mostly came down to field position in the second half.
Tech continued their streak of playing solid second half defense, allowing just 9 points.
The offense looked strong in the first half (racking up 248 total yards), but stalled out in the second half.
#404 Swag Champion of the Game
James Graham. I’m gonna tentatively call this his “coming out” game: 15/22 for 229 yards and 2/1 TD/INT is a pretty good line for a guy that was recruited to play in a spread option offense and started the year as the backup. It’s been fun to watch him develop and I hope this trend continues as we start to close out the season.
I’m not sure if I’ve rated this exact combo before, but I’d like to go on the record and say that these helmets are absolute dynamite.
ATLeast We Ain’t Them of the Week
By executive decision this one is a quad feature of suck this week:
Maryland. Ohio State hung 73 points and 705 yards on our dear Terps (who only managed to gain 139 yards). In a wacky twist, OSU did that while also earning 141 penalty yards.
Vanderbilt. The least-SEC SEC-school got absolutely stomped on by the Gators 56-0 with a yardage differential of 560 to 128. We should celebrate how hard it is to have such a totally inept day in every facet of the game.
NC State. I was watching the first half with family and my dad just kept commenting on how “sad” it was. Down 42-0 near the end of the first half, the Wolfpack drove all the way into the red zone and immediately fumbled on the Clemson 10 yard line. They managed to score some garbage time points near the end, but their first half drives of punt, fumble, fumble, punt, punt, punt, fumble were just flat out depressing to watch.
Finally, Arkansas lost by 26 to Western Kentucky. I saw a shirt in TJ Maxx recently that said “Arkansas: Football in its Natural State”. Well buddy,,, the $5.99 price tag on that shirt speaks volumes about the state of Arkansas football. Edit: I wrote this before Chad Morris was fired haha they are so bad.
Above The Line of the Week
- James Graham (shoutout x2)
- Ahmarean Brown. What a stud - this guy has exploded over the past few games and is on pace to have a really really nice freshman season.
- Pasta dishes in colder weather. **chef’s kiss**. Seriously, a warm plate of pasta is gorgeous when the weather outside is frightful.
Stat of the Week
38.4. This was UVA’s average starting field position (aka the UVA 38 yard line). Tech’s average starting field position was the 22. A 16-yard differential here is massive; you could make a very good argument that field position won this game for the Cavaliers. Winning the field position battle would be a huge boost to this team and it’s something we really need to figure out heading into 2020. Simply put, we can’t keep leaving this many yards on the field.
5 Star (7 Star, 5 Star) Developmental Program Haiku of the Week
This loss was better
We continue to improve
Still, not winning sucks
Please Don’t Yell When I Say This was a Good Loss
Seriously, please don’t yell at me. I’m trying to be positive here; I think this falls in the category of “good loss”. I think this for a few reasons:
Virginia is a good football team. The Cavaliers are 7-3 with a really good chance of finishing 9-3 and on top of the Coastal. They’re 42nd overall in SP+ and have a solid defense. Losing to them is no longer the “oh god” it has been in years past - Bronco Mendenhall is putting together a really solid program over there.
We beat the spread. Yeah losing is losing, but I think losing by 5 as 16-point underdogs has some hidden merit to it. At face value it means we beat expectations, and that’s a pretty good result for this season. What’s more, we were able to do it on the road. By most accounts UVA should’ve blown us out, but that’s not what happened.
We moved the ball on offense. 372 total yards is our second-highest total this season (379 against Duke), and it comes a week after one of our worst offensive performances. Now, most of our success was in the first half, but there are still plenty of things to celebrate here. James Graham is starting to look more and more like a true QB, Ahmarean Brown has emerged as a serious weapon, and Jordan Mason continues to be the glue that holds it all together. It wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t complete, but it was a solid offensive performance against a good defense. That’s a heck of an achievement for a unit in the midst of one of the hardest scheme transitions possible.
We again played a solid defensive second half. We ended up giving up too much yardage but we still held the Cavs to just 9 points. Yes it’s frustrating to only seem to play good defense for one half, but I still think it shows strong potential for the future.
The team fought and competed. I don’t really want to say COMPETITION IS K I N G, but that mentality really does seem to have taken over the locker room and I for one love it. We’re nearing the end of a brutal season and every member of this team is still out there giving it their all. We shouldn’t take this for granted; there are plenty of programs that give up in seasons like this. Collins has done an amazing job instilling and developing a fighting spirit and this game was a perfect example of how far that can take you.
All I’m saying is that I’ve felt a lot of sadness this season but this loss didn’t hit those low lows for me. Maybe it’s because I’m numb to disappointment now, but it’s reminiscent of how I felt after the Clemson game. At this point I’m pleased with a team that competes hard and shows definitive signs of improvement, and that’s exactly what this game was.