Week 3 is in the books with a thrilling win over the Seminoles, and it's time to take a quick look back at the takeaways from the game and reevaluate both the coming week and remaining road ahead:
Quick Hit Thoughts from the Game
Forget that FSU is just 1-2 and was taken to overtime by UL-Monroe. Their roster is stacked top-to-bottom with former 4- and 5-star athletes, many of whom have NFL-level skillsets. The 'Noles were dialed in, they needed that game and they played like it. It was a tough win.
Starting with the learning experiences, we're going to echo Bronco in that Billy Kemp's punt catch bobbles were nerves and he'll be fine going forward. Special Teams also had the missed XP too, so that's a missed kick in every game so far. The placekicking work continues.
Perkins' two INTs were regrettable. The first he just overthrew an open receiver. The second, he didn't read a safety on the help coverage and made a mistake down the field. Cleaned those up in the second half, of course.
I really liked the game plan and play calling on offense. Execution in the first half was a little hit-and-miss, but by the second half it was clearly dialed in. Lots of good routes with open receivers to hit.
Try not to judge the running game on the modest yards-per-carry stats. FSU sold out against the run (both QB keepers and the running backs), dared Perkins to beat them under pressure.
But even with the way they were selling out vs the run, let's give a hand to Wayne Taulapapa who looks very much like the next great short yardage / goal line back. Shades of Wali Lundy the way he just had a nose for the end zone once we were inside the five.
Would've like to have seen what Hollins could do, think he may be a better bet between the 20s, just because he's got that elusivity and breakaway ability. His day will come soon enough.
We've known Joe Reed and Hasise Dubois were targets 1A and 1B. But what a game by Terrell Jana, heck of a time to break out. Billy Kemp showed me a lot too.
Let's bottle whatever it was the offensive line was drinking at halftime, because their second-half play was really solid. Continuing to take incremental steps forward. Like seeing it wear down teams in the second half.
Defense played chippy. It's a fine line to walk, and I don't want to see the team play so aggressive that they're sloppy. But it's football, and I'd rather the team ride that edge than be conservative. It's how BYU always played us under Bronco too.
We've got 14 sacks through three games, which is tied for 2nd in all of D-1. With two of those games against P5 opponents, that's scary. Stone Smartt (ODU quarterback) may want to miss the bus to Charlottesville this weekend.
The penalties on the last drive... I don't know what to tell ya. Some of them were bordeline, some of them were stupid, but given the way the 2011 version ended (where refs continued to award FSU highly questionable extra chances), I'm not inclined to give the refs the benefit of the doubt. Let the players decide the game.
Most important takeaway is that the fans got rewarded. It feels like every time in recent years the fans start to turn back to the program, there's a setback. The 2017 BC loss jumps to mind immediately, but there are others. UVA fans took a chance this weekend, packed Scott, and got to go home feeling great. It will do wonders for long term buy in. Also impressed the heck out of a lot of great young high school recruits as well, which again means long term returns.
Depth Chart Moves
Just one move to note this week, and that's the absence of backup quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who's dealing with some sort of toe injury and will be resting up this week. RS Sophomore Lindell Stone moves up into the second chair.
Coastal Power Rankings
1. Virginia (Prev: 1) - 3-0 (2-0) - Two early wins in the ACC standings puts UVA in the driver's seat until their 10/11 trip to Miami, as next week's trip to ND won't affect them in this standing.
2. North Carolina (Prev: 2) - 2-1 (1-0) - A hard-fought loss to a solid Wake Forest team was a reality check, but there's still a lot to like with this young club. App State this weekend will be a solid next test.
3. Miami (Prev: 3) - 1-2 (0-1) - Kicking off a 5-game homestand after an 0-2 start, the 'Canes ran it up on Bethune-Cookman, and will get to coast vs Central Michigan this week and then a bye. They're idling until hosting VT on 10/5.
4. Duke (Prev: 5) - 2-1 (0-0) - Still too early to peg the Blue Devils, who beat up on another mid-major this week. They get a bye this week before making a road trip to Blacksburg to start establishing themselves in this year's ACC.
5. Pitt (Prev: 6) - 1-2 (0-1) - Signs of life as Pitt took a ranked Penn State to the wire in State College. Better play calling could've enabled an upset. If they can stay healthy (big IF as that Penn State loss saw a lot of guys leave the field), they could eventually play spoiler to Coastal rivals.
6. VT (Prev: 4) - 2-1 (0-1) - The road loss to BC was disappointing but excusable. But sweating out fourth quarters at home vs ODU and Furman in back-to-back weeks indicates major issues that need fixing. A bye this week will let them prepare for a crucial visit from Duke.
7. GT (Prev: 7) - 1-2 (0-1) - They lost to the Citadel. Let that sink in. This is the worst team in the Coastal and facing a multi-year rebuild.
Non-UVA Games to Watch this Weekend
Some good non-ACC Top 25 games out there this weekend too like Michigan at Wisconsin or Auburn at A&M, but here are a few relevant to UVA fans and our schedule and standings:
Appalachian State at North Carolina - 3:30 PM Eastern - ACCNX: UNC looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season gets a capably upset-minded mid-major powerhouse coming to town.
Louisville at Florida State - 3:30 PM Eastern - ESPN: Louisville's a bit of a question mark so far, but seeing them against a tough-but-vulnerable FSU will tell us a lot about our cross-division rival.
#7 Notre Dame at #3 Georgia - 8:00 PM Eastern - CBS: With the Hoos having the Irish on deck next week, it'll be intriguing to see what they do under the bright lights of Athens.
The Remaining Schedule
Saturday, Sept 21 - Old Dominion: Win Confidence 9 - ODU played Virginia Tech close and then had a bye week to rest up and begin preparations for UVA. I'm not a bettor, but I could see ODU covering to 30 point spread fairly cleanly.
Saturday, Sept 28 - at #7 Notre Dame: Win confidence 3.5 - House money game for the Hoos, especially with the Irish coming off a trip to Georgia. Potential for this to be UVA's national coming-out party.
Friday, Oct 11 - at Miami: Win confidence 5.5 - Miami's defense could make life interesting for Perkins, the running backs, and the OL, but our defense will give us every chance to win it. The bye week prior, while Miami is coming off hosting Virginia Tech, gives us an edge in freshness.
Saturday, Oct 19 - Duke: Win confidence 7.5 - Blue Devils could absolutely provide a stiff test, as under Cutliffe there's always potential. We just haven't seen enough to know yet, and so we'll base this off being home while riding a 4-game win streak against them.
Saturday, Oct 26 - at Louisville: Win confidence 6.5 - So far they are who we thought they were, losing to Notre Dame while beating a couple directional-Kentuckys. Big game at FSU this weekend will tell us where they're at under new coach Satterfield.
Saturday, Nov 2 - at North Carolina: Win confidence 6 - Tar Heels once again played with fire and relied on 4th quarter heroics to win it, falling just short. A good team that could give UVA fits at Kenan Memorial if the Hoos aren't sharp.
Saturday, Nov 9 - Georgia Tech: Win confidence 9 - The Jackets are already starting to fall apart and it's only September. I can't imagine how much they'll be mentally broken come November.
Saturday, Nov 23 - Liberty: Win confidence 9 - Flames finally got in the win column this week by beating Buffalo. Shouldn't be a major test for the Hoos, but they'll at least need to be focused and no be looking ahead to Tech.
Friday, Nov 29 - Virginia Tech: Win confidence 5 - Hokies could very well be playing this game for their bowl eligibility lives again this year.
Predicted final record: 9-3 (6-2)