Monday, October 17, 2011

weekend review

Here we are seven weeks into the season, and thanks to a rather unforeseen win over Georgia Tech, I'd like to welcome Heather Dinich into the club of believers.  I'm not doing as well as I'd like in the game-by-games prediction department, so I'll make up for it by pointing out that I had UVA getting to the Military Bowl before a single football was ever kicked off.  Protocol dictates that as a fan, I should overreact to everything that happens, good or bad, so here you go: if UVA brings an A game like that to every matchup the rest of the season, the Hoos will have accepted a bowl invite somewhere else long before the Military Bowl gets to choose.  Sure, the score was very close, but the game really wasn't as close as three points, and I think most GT fans would probably tell you that.  If you like, you may pretend the score was 31-14 - the latter number is what GT's previously explosive offense was held to, and the only thing stopping UVA from punching through with a touchdown on the game-clinching drive was the clock and a sense of fundamental non-dickitude.

Effectively speaking, that game reverses the negative effect on our bowl hopes that the Southern Miss loss inflicted.  A few things are more favorable than I thought they'd be, a few things are less, but it all basically evens out, and now we're halfway into the schedule and right where I thought we needed to be in order to make a bowl game happen.

Between the Southern Miss game and this one, somewhere along the line I said there were four legitimately winnable games on the schedule, and we had to get three of them in order to be bowl eligible.  Now we have to get two of them, and those happen to be the next four games.  Here they are with an approximation of our chances of winning each:

NC State - 75% (the Pack really isn't very good.)
Miami - 25% (Miami doesn't suck, it's a Thursday game and they have the advantage of not having to mix travel preps in with game preps.)
Maryland - 50% (the tossup.)
Duke - 75% (Duke is still Duke.)

If you believe those numbers, then there's better than an 80% chance UVA is bowl-eligible at the end of this four-game stretch.

Naturally this comes with the caveat that we don't get two weeks of prep before each game, and that we have to bring our A game every week in order to win.  NC State and Duke are bad teams, yes, but we're not so good we can beat anyone in this conference with a B effort.

A-games this week were brought by the following very long list of people:

-- First, Chase Minnifield and the UVA secondary for shutting down the passing game.  Tevin Washington was 2-for-8 in large part because there was never anywhere to go with the ball.  The fact that UVA was able to shut down GT's passing game with minimal manpower meant that Rodney McLeod could help out in run support, and he clearly made his presence felt with eight tackles.  Awesome job done by Minnifield and the pass defense.

I said this in the game preview: "Let your best cornerback cover GT's one receiver and keep one safety disciplined and deep and you've taken away most of what they want to do."  That's exactly what happened.  David Teel said it much better: "Getting fooled by Georgia Tech’s triple option is a given. Play the Yellow Jackets and you can pretty much bank on a 300-yard ground gouging.  The wild card is Georgia Tech’s passing. That’s what has separated merely good teams from the excellent in coach Paul Johnson’s four-year tenure."  UVA was able to contain the ground game because they took away the air game.

-- The offensive line deserves a ton of credit for tearing through the GT defense like wet Kleenex, but the wide receivers also need to be mentioned for their blocking as well.  Lots of rushing yardage came on the edges where the receivers were making holes happen.

-- Playcalling by Lazor was excellent.  There were a few isolated situations I'd've been happier with something different, but the final play balance, minus kneel-downs and sacks, was about 2-to-1 in favor of running.  We're a run-first team but that's more so than usual - GT had a weakness and Lazor pounded it til it broke.  That's a hallmark of good teams - turning opponents' weaknesses into wins.

-- The running backs looked great too, and not just because of the holes they had.  Given some space to work with, they each put their skills on display: Perry Jones's vision, Kevin Parks's balance, and Clifton Richardson's athleticism.  Running back is my favorite position on the field to watch, and it looks like we got us some damn good ones.

So, given all that, how did I do on the predictions?

-- At least one UVA running back goes over 100 yards.

Perry Jones had 149.

-- The UVA ground game goes over 180 yards.
I almost ought to ding myself for pussing out - I considered saying 220.  I backed way down.  Right either way, though: 272 total.  282 if you remove sacks and kneels, for an average of 6.7 per carry.

-- Watford has about one-fourth of the total pass attempts, but still has fewer yards per attempt than Rocco.
Watford had almost exactly one-fourth of the total - he attempted 5 of the 19 passes thrown.  And yes, he was much less effective than Rocco was, completing just one pass.

-- Orwin Smith or Roddy Jones rolls off at least one big run of at least 50 yards.

-- GT's running game generates between 350 and 400 yards.

The only really big plays Tech churned out were called back on illegal blocks.  Blatantly illegal, in the case of the second one - when you see it happen live and don't have to look for it on replay, it's obvious.  And on neither of those plays were Smith or Jones the ballcarrier.

In fact, those two combined for just nine carries all game - quarterback Tevin Washington had 26.  And GT had 272 yards rushing - exactly the same as UVA, except they never kneeled, so truth be told, we outgained 'em.  I did not expect that.  I did call what needed to be done: "UVA should find ways to discourage the pitch on the option; the ideal result is for Tevin Washington to keep as much as possible."  I just didn't expect us to be able to do it so well and so consistently.  Mission accomplished, but predictions wrong.

-- Tevin Washington completes fewer than 50% of his passes.

He was an ouchful 2 of 8.

The relative success this week bumps me to 19-for-44 and gets me over the 40% mark.  See what happens when we get to teams I recognize?  Because I didn't have the proper amount of faith in my team, however, my punishment is to fall to 4-2 in outcome predictions.  On the other hand, the lines for the game were mostly GT by 7 or 7.5, with a couple stranger ones going higher.  I called GT by 7, therefore I'm giving myself that one against the spread, and going to 3-3 there.


Time now for Senior Seasons.  You should know the drill by now, and ohbytheway the G.P. South Blue Devils are officially going to the playoffs after a 3OT win last Friday.  Maybe one day we can send someone to the I-A college ranks on a scholarship to some school besides Ohio State, wherein resides the one South Blue Devil on the scholarship rosters.

Victory Christian 53, Orlando Christian 32: Demeitre Brim ran for a 65-yard touchdown and passed for two more in a high-scoring rout.  VCA is 5-2.

St. Joseph 70, Lower Cape May 0: Max Valles caught a 10 yard touchdown and had a 21-yard pick six as well.  Also, have I mentioned that Valles is also St. Joe's kicker?  Because he is.  St. Joe's is 5-0.

Franklin 48, Bridgewater-Raritan 0: Completely unleashing Kye Morgan on a winless team would've been cruel, so he only carried eight times and sat the second half.  He had 132 yards and a touchdown all the same. Franklin is 4-1.

Malvern Prep 48, Germantown Academy 0: Michael Mooney helped pave the way for 315 yards rushing for Malvern, which is 5-1.

Souderton 44, Central Bucks South 42: Matt Johns was 14 for 21 with 310(!) yards and at least two touchdowns in a shootout loss.  Three of South's 2nd-half touchdown drives lasted a total of 57 seconds combined.  CB South is 4-3.

Hampton 49, Warwick 0: Jamall Brown caught a pair of touchdowns, the only ones thrown by quarterback Jeremy Eubank.  Hampton is 5-2.

Norfolk Christian 42, Portsmouth Christian 7: Wil Wahee took a punt 80 yards to the house to put a cherry on the scoring.  NCS is 5-2.

Varina 54, Atlee 11: Maurice Canady's impressive stats: 7-for-13 passing, 212 yards, two touchdowns; 19 carries, 124 yards, two touchdowns.  Over 30 yards per completion.  He's getting used to this quarterback thing.  Varina is 5-1.

DeMatha 13, St. John's 7 (Michael Moore - DeMatha is 4-2.)
Stratford 54, Spring Woods 13 (Kelvin Rainey - Stratford is 4-3.)
Salisbury 21 Worcester Academy 14 (Canaan Severin - WA is 3-1.)
Salem 35, Landstown 0 (Kyle Dockins - Landstown is 5-2.)
Green Run 43, Kempsville 6 (Mark Hall - Green Run is 3-4.)
Bayside 45, Tallwood 14 (Anthony Cooper - Bayside is 6-2.)
Hermitage 38, John Marshall 6 (Andre Miles-Redmond - Hermitage is 6-0.)


I do have a small confession to make: I'm a little bit of a Neanderthal when it comes to technology.  For example, I have a Twitter account which has never uttered a peep (except for one time when it got hacked - bastards) and which I use to follow the people worth following.  Occasionally some little nugget of info shows up.  Something like 90% of it is the basketball team being excited about it being Friday.

Well, we're taking steps to fix that around here.  Baby steps.  Sometime in the near future (like, probably tomorrow) you'll be able to hear my actual real voice as a guest on a podcast hosted by NC State blog Riddick and Reynolds.  Also, I'm going to try something with this ol' Twitter account.  I've never known exactly what I ought to use the sucker for, other than maybe a link every time I post but that seems lame, but I'm gonna try something this week and see if it's popular enough to keep doing.  Every time I'm watching a game I think a whole bunch of things that I tell myself I'll put in Monday's post about it, but I never do.  Since Twitter is a "micro-blogging" service, I will micro-blog some stream-of-consciousness crap while I'm watching.  Follow @MaizeNBlueWahoo for my internal monologue during the game on Saturday.  If I like how that turns out, I'll keep it up for certain other games too.  Not all, but some.  We'll see.

1 comment:

Adam said...

I think the micro-blogging during games is a good idea. I find it pretty entertaining here in DC to have twitter up because a bunch of media-types post during the and dying like the rest of us. Plus, for me, there never are enough people around to talk wahoo sports...especially in this sea of burgundy and orange that is the dc metro area.