Our newest football feature is Opponent Watch, where we recap the weekend's results of the other teams on Virginia's remaining schedule, to help the fans develop an understanding of what's upcoming. Once the season starts unfolding, we'll start looking at UVA's apparent place in the pecking order of the Coastal Division, but so far only VT has played an ACC game.
Hoo Matchup Date/Location: Sat, 9/8 @ IU
This week's result: Won 38-28 vs FIU (Away)
IU had to fight against a mid-tier C-USA foe, though it was a true road game. The IU offense effectively churned out yards both on the ground (213) and in the air (252), but needed to convert on fourth down 3 different times to keep the chains moving, throwing one INT in the process. Their defense did allow four TDs, but also picked up two FIU fumbles and took an interception back for a TD.
Hoo Matchup Date/Location: Sat, 9/15 @ UVA
This week's result: Won 38-32 vs Howard (Home)
Ohio struggled to put away the Mike London-coached MEAC squad, at home no less. After starting QB Nathan Rourke stumbled out of the gate to a 2/8 start, Ohio went to backup Quinton Maxwell, who lit up the Howard defense for 233 passing yards, a 2/0 TD/INT, and added 2 TDs on the ground. Ohio's rushing attacked didn't quite live up to the preseason hype (expected to be one of the MAC's best), only generating 146 yards on 39 attempts. Otherwise, Ohio relied on four Howard turnovers (2 fumbles, 2 INTs), and a kickoff return TD to survive the near-upset.
Hoo Matchup Date/Location: Sat 9/22 @ UVA
This week's result: Lost 51-14 vs Alabama (Neutral - Orlando)
No one expected the Cards to beat Alabama, obviously. TBD what conclusions to draw from this one, as Bama is going to do this to a lot of good teams this year, they're that dominant right now. Louisville's running game never got going, only 16 yards, though their new QB Jawon Pass did throw for 252 yards, 2 TDs (though 2 INTs), as the Cards generated 20 1st downs. Small victories, I guess. Their defense had no answer for the Bama offense, who generated 519 total yards. Louisville will go back to work against mid-majors the next two weeks to try and bounce back.
Hoo Matchup Date/Location: Sat, 9/29 @ NCSU
This week's result: Won 24-13 vs JMU (Home)
JMU is one of the best FCS teams out there, annually competing for the national title at their level. But NC State had hoped to do better against them at home. State's offense struggled to find a consistent rhythm, failing to break 100 yards rushing, so QB Ryan Finley's 300 passing yards were a one-dimensional attack (throwing 43 times). Former Pitt QB Ben Dinucci threw effectively against the Wolfpack, 197 yards and a TD on 85% completions while adding 79 rushing yards, so State will need to improve their dual-threat QB containment, but ultimately the State defense didn't break, allowing only 1 TD to the Dukes.
Hoo Matchup Date/Location: Sat, 10/13 @ UVA
This week's result: Lost 17-33 vs LSU (Neutral - Dallas)
This wasn't how Miami wanted to start it's season. On the surface, it doesn't look terrible. It was a battle between ranked teams, on turf far closer to home for the Tigers. But Miami was ranked Top 10, while the Tigers were barely Top 25, and more worrying, the Tigers were up 33-3 going into the fourth quarter before Miami tacked on two garbage time TDs. Miami's QB Malik Rosier completed only 15 of his 35 attempts and threw two INTs and the Miami offense couldn't reach the 100-yard rushing mark, even in garbage time. Miami's defense actually played okay from a stats standpoint, especially on 3rd down (held LSU to only 3/16 conversions), and only 296 yards total allowed, but most of that dominance was in the 2nd half once LSU had full control of the game.
Hoo Matchup Date/Location: Sat, 10/20 @ Duke
This week's result: Won 34-14 vs Army (Home)
Not much to take away from this one, as Army is a pretty beatable program. Duke's offense was balanced, 197 yards passing and 184 rushing, only losing one fumble, though only converted a paltry 2-of-9 third down attempts. Their defense gave up a fair 365 yards, including nearly 200 passing (Army shouldn't be passing for that many yards), and the Knights' were able to convert all four of their 4th down attempts, which Duke will need to tighten up.
Matchup Date/Location: Sat, 10/27 @ UVA
This week's result: Lost 17-24 vs Cal (Away)
Credit to UNC for crossing the country for a true road game. But ignore the final score, Cal was up 24-3 halfway through the fourth quarter before UNC tacked on two garbage time TDs. This was a hard game to peg, as UNC had a number of players suspended for this game (Link). All told it was an ugly game, Cal rotating QBs, UNC undermanned, it may be a couple of weeks from now when most of the Heel roster is back before we get a feel for what UNC is going to look like long-term.
Hoo Matchup Date/Location: Fri, 11/2 @ UVA
This week's result: Won 33-7 vs Albany (Home)
Pitt took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown and never looked back. The Panthers did what they were supposed to do, control the game against an average FCS program, and get out healthy. The only interesting thing about this otherwise rote FBS-FCS beatdown game may have been getting to see one Vincent Testaverde, Jr. under center for the Great Danes (no, he's not as good as his daddy). Pitt welcomes Penn State next week (the Nittany Lions struggled to beat the visiting Sun Belt's Appy State on Saturday) and that's when we'll get a real feel for the Panthers.
Hoo Matchup Date/Location: Sat, 11/10 @ UVA
This week's result: Won 52-10 vs Old Dominion (Home)
ODU kept this game close through the first half, going into the break only down 14-10, but Liberty poured it on in the 2nd half. Liberty's QB Stephen Calvert was on fire, 25/36 for 345 yards and 4 TDs. Yes it was "just ODU," but remember ODU is a C-USA team now. It's hard to start a season any better. The Flames' defense held ODU to only 3 of 16 on 3rd down and recovered two fumbles, though only got 1 sack on the day.
Matchup Date/Location: Sat, 11/17 @ GT
This week's result: Won 41-0 vs Alcorn State (Home)
Yawn. The jackets pasted the SWAC team as they were projected to do (they were such heavy favorites I never even saw a Vegas line on the game). Little to take away here... the offense was supposed to be strong with a veteran QB running the triple option and GT having a massive advantage on the OL (QB Taquon Marshall even got to throw for 100 yards, though only on 50% completion, with an INT). The defense's performance was reassuring, as they have a new coordinator and system in place. GT goes on the road vs South Florida and Pitt in the coming weeks will should provide a stiffer test.
Hoo Matchup Date/Location: Fri, 11/23 @ VT
This week's result: Won 24-3 vs Florida State (Away)
Virginia Tech went down to Tallahassee and ran FSU off their own field on national TV. Now, first, a caveat that this ain't your daddy's Seminoles they beat. The team was in disarray last year before it hired a Mike London-esque player's coach in Willie Taggart who is going to lose more than he wins this year. With that said, credit to Virginia Tech for the dominant win. The VT offense did enough against FSU's athletic defense, putting together TD drives in the 1st and 4th quarter, QB Josh Jackson having a solid day with 200 yards, 2 TDs and no INTs. But the story of this game was VT's defense and special teams. Try not to be shocked. VT's defense took the ball away from the Noles FIVE TIMES, including when backed up to their own goal line, and a punt blocked turned into a special teams touchdown, so while VT has youngsters and new starters across its defense (8 first time starters this weekend), Bud Foster seemingly has them ready.
Record: 1-0 (1-0)