Game Recap in Three Sentences
Neither team should feel good about this one - both struggled mightily with offensive success and turnovers.
The defense did a great job keeping the game close but backup QB Gibson and the rest of the offense earned just 46 second half yards.
Special teams reverted back to being a weak spot; Tech missed an XP and struggled with punt coverage all night.
#404 Swag Champion of the Game
LaMiles Brooks got himself a pick 6 and recovered a fumble, both of which went a long way towards keeping us in this game.
ATLeast We Ain’t Them of the Week
Iowa threw an interception on their very first play against Ohio State and it didn’t get much better from there. The Hawkeyes finished with 6 total turnovers, an 8% third down conversion rate, and just eight total first downs. This list of drive results is one of the bleakest things you could possibly read: Interception, Punt, Fumble, Downs, Field Goal, Punt, Interception (pick 6), Punt, Fumble, Interception, Downs, Punt, Downs, Fumble, Punt.
Above The Line of the Week
- Blocking punts instead of having them blocked.
- Hoodie season.
- The old Italian men who sip espresso and play bocce in the park near my apartment.
Stat of the Week
3, the number of offensive drives against UVA that gained negative yardage. A substantial portion of our eight total three-and-outs went backwards.
5 Star (7 Star, 5 Star) Developmental Program Haiku of the Week
Makes me want to scream
UVA is a bad team
Turns out that we’re worse
Anger as a Consequence of Caring
Really this is all Brent Key’s fault I guess. If this were still a Collins team and this was merely our fifth straight loss then I’d be a lot more apathetic and a lot less angry. But I found myself fuming on Thursday night, hardly able to fall asleep. All the renewed hope, all the excitement, all the “this is a different team now” - gone, wasted on one of the worst performances we’ve seen in recent years (and that’s saying something). And that [Foreigner] angers me.
There’s a laundry list of things I could complain about here. Stupid penalties at the worst times. Converting four turnovers into just six points. Throwing an interception in the endzone from the UVA 8. Failing to score a touchdown from the UVA 1. Six straight drives to open the second half that were either a three-and-out or a fumble. Gibson running out of bounds on the final play. A non-existent running game. An offensive line that left Gibson to run for his life and trip every four plays. Wasting the best defensive showing we’ve seen in a while. Falling flat on our faces against possibly the worst team in the conference. All of it sucks.
It’s been a while since a single game has angered me like this and it’s a direct result of the previous two games seemingly proving that there’s still something to root for. I guess in a way it feels nice to know I can still get this mad, but man does it suck. I can’t stand losing games we should win. “Win the games you should win” is something I’ve said about a thousand times. Clemson can blow us out every week for all I care, but watching the team flounder against pure, distilled mediocrity stings. Coming into the season I saw four wins on the schedule - WCU, Duke, UVA, and VT. Dropping a game from that list eradicates the good will earned by stealing one against Pitt. A feeble performance like Thursday night both adds a loss and removes just about any shred of confidence that we can compete with the teams left on the schedule. Now instead of having a great chance to get five wins and a shot at a bowl with six (hello Miami, what on Earth are y’all doing), we’re back to probably settling for “well four wins technically counts as improvement” and boy is that a letdown from how we felt after Pitt. The emotional rollercoaster is all part of the charm of college football but it’s especially brutal to have such a low after probably the highest high in four years.
16 points per game is not going to cut it against anyone. I’d add “and that’s even with Sims” but at this point I dunno, could it really be worse? Virginia Tech is our lone remaining this-team-definitely-sucks game, but even they have a respectable defense. If we can’t figure out something on offense in the next week or so then we’re in for an even more depressing back half of the season than last year.
Up next is Florida State (10/29, noon, ACCN). Our last outing against the Noles was the heart attack win in 2020, but I’m not quite sure what to make of this game in 2022. FSU is on a three game losing streak after starting 4-0, but those three losses are all by 10 or less to ranked teams. They’ve looked bad at times, great at others, and mediocre at others still. My gut tells me this is going to be a difficult game, especially if we don’t have a healthy Sims. Gibson looked lost against maybe the worst team in the ACC last week so I’m not exactly confident he can be The Guy against a much sturdier team. The offense as a whole is the glaring problem here; even with Sims we struggle to score more than two touchdowns in a game and we’re going to need more than that to keep up with the Noles. This game has looked like a loss since the beginning of the season and I find it hard to see it any other way right now.