Week 2 is in the books with a win over the Tribe, and it's time to take a quick look back at the takeaways from the game and reevaluate the coming week and remaining road ahead:
Quick Hit Thoughts from the Game
Okay, big 52-17 win over an FCS cupcake. Whatever, right? For what it's worth, we hadn't scored that much since 2004 (when we put up 56 vs Carolina); figuring an FCS opponent every year in that span, plus a couple of trainwreck FBS opponents, it's remarkable we'd gone over a decade without breaking the 50-point threshold. Maybe this team is just different?
And as big a blowout as 52-17 is? It was 42-3 at one point early in the 3rd quarter. And that was despite committing two self-inflicted turnovers by that point. If our starters had stayed in, we would've pushed for 70 points.
Obviously some things not to like, you know, like four turnovers, mostly unforced. On Perkins' first INT, I didn't like the playcall, where on 3rd and 1 we got too cute, should've just ran it between the tackles with Kier or Hollins; though Perkins should've thrown it away or tried to turn the corner once he was under pressure in the left flat. 2nd INT was just a head scratching throw. Armstrong's INT was a result of being hit, but that wasn't his blind side the blitz came from, teaching moment for the rookie to throw the ball away before the contact comes.
Special Teams was great at times, obviously, with great returns from Reed, Kemp, and Kelly. But missing a 30 yard FG the week after missing a 40-yarder at Pitt shows that unit still isn't where we want it. And the less said about the muffed punt, the better.
Offensive line continued to take baby steps, but still a bit more shuffling than I'd like. Running against W&M's front seven isn't much of a test, so the unit's still getting an "incomplete" from me until next week at the earliest.
Wideouts and running backs, still feeling good that we're deep and talented at both positions. Get well soon, Wayne, whatever was nagging at ya on Friday.
Perkins was confirmed in the Monday coach's presser that he's less than 100%, but he still looked good on a lot of plays. His comfort level and mobility did look improved from Pitt, have to hope he'll continue to improve for FSU.
Defense was incredible. "Just W&M" and all, but once they dialed in on the Tribe's slippery young QB Hollis Mathis, it was lights out until it was mostly the 2nd/3rd unit in for the 4th quarter. Hard to single anyone out because everyone shined. Looking crisp for the big weeks ahead.
Overall I think a B+ performance. Some of that might be attributed to malaise, especially once we were up by a few scores. The rest is just part of the growth and teaching process, especially as the OL continues to gel.
Students, way to turn out! Expecting a great crowd for Saturday. (Begging the weather to cooperate!)
Depth Chart Moves
Per usual, Bronco refuses to tip his hand much with the depth chart, as it's still populated with "OR"s attached to 9 different starting positions. On the offensive line, the rotation at tackle is still up in the air, with neither Swoboda and Haskins seemingly having solidified the job. The wideouts and running backs also continue to show as a very deep, diverse group with no obvious heirarchy. The stability is indicative of good health so far, though, which is nice.
Coastal Power Rankings
1. Virginia (Prev: 1) - The Hoos took care of business in a B/B+ effort vs an in-state FCS cupcake. With the AP ranking UVA on the eve of a visit from the Seminoles, it's time for UVA to prove it deserves to keep the top spot.
2. North Carolina (Prev: 2) - Two weeks, two statement wins. After using 4th quarter dramatics to upset South Carolina, the Heels won a tight battle vs Miami this week, and are suddenly the division's hottest team.
3. Miami (Prev: 3) - Arguably an 0-2 team shouldn't be third, but in close losses to Florida (neutral) and UNC (away) the 'Canes have showed they're still dangerous and could turn the corner any day. They now start a five-game homestand to iron things out.
4. VT (Prev: 4) - The Hokies, huge favorites vs an ODU squad that struggled with Norfolk State, let the Monarchs within a single touchdown in the 4th quarter before putting it away.
5. Duke (Prev: 6) - What to make of the Blue Devils, who got pasted by #2 Alabama and then pasted FCS stalwart NC A&T? They'll likely stay an enigma until their 9/27 visit to Blacksburg.
6. Pitt (Prev: 5) - Losing to UVA while shaking off first game cobwebs is one thing. Sweating it out at home vs MAC middlweight Ohio is another. Oh, and they have #13 Penn State and #17 UCF the next two weeks.
7. GT (Prev: 7) - They averaged 3.6 yards per pass attempt and 3.7 yards per rush vs South Florida, winning just 14-10 at home vs a USF team that The Athletic ranks only the 113th best team (out of 130) in D-1.
Non-UVA Games to Watch this Weekend
Really dull week on both the national and the ACC stage, with no real heavyweight clashes coming after getting Texas A&M vs Clemson and LSU vs Texas this past weekend. Other than the two games below (and us vs FSU), everyone else in the ACC is playing a cupcake. Oh, except Pitt, who's going to lose by 30 to Penn State... hard pass on that one. Good Saturday to get some yardwork done, I think.
North Carolina at Wake Forest - 6:00 PM ET - ACC Network: The Tar Heels are trendy with two P5 wins already, but Wake is solid this year as well, coming off a 20 point road win at Rice. Oddsmakers expect this to be a close one. Interesting subplot - this game won't count towards ACC Standings; it was scheduled as an OOC.
#1 Clemson at Syracuse - 7:30 PM ET - ABC: This game lost a ton of shine after Cuse got caught looking ahead at Maryland and lost *checks notes* 63-20(!), tumbling out of the Top 25. With that said, Cuse has played the thorn in Clemson's side the last couple of years, winning in 2017 and losing by only 4 last year.
The Remaining Schedule
Saturday, Sept 14 - Florida State: Win confidence 6 - FSU lost at home to a good-but-not-great Boise State, then nearly lost to Louisiana-Monroe. If it weren't for the 5-star athletes and the heritage, you'd say this isn't a good team. UVA's to win if they don't let the moment get to them.
Saturday, Sept 21 - Old Dominion: Win Confidence 9 - Don't let their upset bid in Blacksburg fool you, this is still a team that sweated vs Norfolk State. Hoos ought to have this one in hand by the 3rd quarter.
Saturday, Sept 28 - at #7 Notre Dame: Win confidence 3 - Didn't play this week, will tune up with New Mexico before going to Georgia. Hoos get them after their return from Athens, and the letdown factor may give the Hoos an edge.
Friday, Oct 11 - at Miami: Win confidence 5 - Losing to Florida was expected, but losing at UNC will be harder for the Canes to swallow. I expected their defense to do more damage to Carolina, but Miami didn't secure a single turnover.
Saturday, Oct 19 - Duke: Win confidence 7.5 - Hard to get a read on how good Duke is, with no good benchmarking games for another couple weeks. We'll base this on past UVA dominance.
Saturday, Oct 26 - at Louisville: Win confidence 6.5 - Cards season lacking surprises so far, with a decent half in a good loss to Notre Dame followed by an easy win over Eastern Kentucky. They get WKU next week before FSU on the 21st; until then this is still a team with some rebuilding going on.
Saturday, Nov 2 - at North Carolina: Win confidence 5 - Starting to look like a game with major Coastal implications, as their win over Miami gives them a head start with UVA for the division. On the road, this may be a 50/50 game.
Saturday, Nov 9 - Georgia Tech: Win confidence 9 - The narrow win vs USF shows their offense is going to need another year to even be serviceable... our defense should win this one by itself.
Saturday, Nov 23 - Liberty: Win confidence 9 - Not much change here, as Liberty continues to struggle in their new role as an FBS independent. HC Hugh Freeze's health issues (get well soon, coach!) are adding to the problems.
Friday, Nov 29 - Virginia Tech: Win confidence 5 - I want to rank this higher, I really do. Losing at BC and struggling to put away ODU tells me this is a team UVA should definitely beat. But, ya know...
Predicted final record: 9-3 (6-2)