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at Virginia 21 ... Idaho 20 OT

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 1, 2011


Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Idaho at Virginia


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 5 - Idaho at Virginia

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Oct. 1 at Virginia 21 ... Idaho 20 OT
CFN Analysis: Virginia seemed to do everything possible to give Idaho the win with three turnovers, misfires galore on offense, coaching gaffes, seven penalties, and major breakdowns on special teams, but the defense got out alive in overtime. Idaho’s offense was stuffed for just 301 yards, but it had a shot at the win and missed. Perry Jones ran for 110 yards and a score and Michael Rocco threw for 240 yards and a touchdown, but the offense couldn’t put the game away after taking a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. It’s not like Virginia stopped trying; it kept screwing up. On the plus side, the run defense did a nice job of stopping the bad Vandal ground game cold, and now it gets two weeks to work on slowing down Georgia Tech.

Idaho played poorly and Virginia played worse, and there was still a chance to pull off the win on the road. The offense that can’t seem to move the ball a lick came to life when it absolutely had to on a two-point conversion to tie it up late in the fourth to force overtime, and then Brian Reader came up with one of his best plays of the year on a 23-yard touchdown pass to Armauni Johnson. The two point try for the win was a gutsy one, but it should’ve been made with the head. Virginia’s offense was sputtering, and while it scored in overtime, it was making mistakes and wasn’t sharp. Reader was just starting to get hot and the Vandal offense was working, and while it would’ve been a terrific move had he hit on the two point conversion, it might not have been necessary. Bobby Cowan kept the Cavs pinned deep all game long, averaging 51.2 yards per kick, and the defensive line had one of its best games of the year. It wasn’t enough.

(AP) CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Underdog Idaho went for the win instead of forcing a second overtime, and Brian Reader's two-point conversion pass fell incomplete as error-prone Virginia escaped with a 21-20 victory Saturday.

Virginia (3-2) overcame a blocked punt for a touchdown, an interception, two fumbles and a slew of mental errors to win a game they desperately needed before they head into the meat of their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule.

The freshman combination of quarterback David Watford and receiver Dominique Terrell clicked for Virginia in overtime. After a facemask penalty pushed the Cavaliers back to the 27, Watford hit Terrell in the right flat. Terrell broke a tackle and outran the secondary to the end zone.

It was a bit of redemption for Terrell, who was replaced as the punt returner in the fourth quarter after letting several Idaho (1-4) punts hit the ground and roll, putting the Cavaliers in difficult field position.

The Vandals responded with a 23-yard pass to a diving Armauni Johnson in the back of the end zone.

But rather than kick the point-after, Idaho went for the win on the road. Reader dropped back and was flushed from the pocket, and he lofted a pass that was swatted down just inside the end zone.

Idaho forced the overtime when Daniel Micheletti scooped up a blocked punt and ran it in from 4 yards out, and Reader hit Marsel Posey for the two-point conversion with 3:11 left in the game. It wasn't expected to be this tough for the Cavaliers, and for a while it looked like it wouldn't be. Perry Jones, getting more time at running back because of an injury to Kevin Parks, scored two first-quarter touchdowns on a 10-yard run and a 6-yard pass from starting quarterback Michael Rocco.

But mistakes by the Cavaliers allowed the Vandals to hang around. Jones, who finished with 110 yards on 21 carries, and Clifton Richardson lost fumbles and Watford's first series ended when his deep pass on second-and-1 was intercepted.

All the Vandals could manage offensively, however, were field goals of 19 and 42 yards by Trey Farquhar.

Virginia's coaches were not immune from the lapses. The Cavaliers responded to Farquhar's second field goal by moving from their 28 to the Idaho 21 in four plays, but with six seconds left in the half they skipped a field goal attempt. Rocco scrambled and was tackled inside the 10 as time expired, and boos cascaded down from the sparse crowd of 39,827.

Neither team could get anything going in the third quarter, and the fourth quarter started with the first of two missed field goal attempts by Virginia's Robert Randolph. Idaho responded with a quick march deep into Virginia territory, highlighted by a nifty reverse-field 20-yard run by Princeton McCarty and a 44-yard pass from Reader to Mike Scott to the Cavaliers 7.

Two plays later, Dom Joseph intercepted a Reader pass in the end zone.

Virginia's Chase Minnifield also intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter to set the Cavaliers up at the Idaho 46, but that opportunity ended with another Randolph miss from 36.

The Cavaliers finished with 496 yards of total offense to 296 for Idaho, and Virginia wideout Kris Burd had a career-high 123 yards receiving on eight catches.

McCarty had 90 yards on 14 carries for Idaho.

Idaho (1-3) at Virginia (2-2) Oct. 1, 3:30, ESPN3

Here’s The Deal … The feel-good buzz that was permeating through the Virginia program just a couple of weeks ago has now completely evaporated. The Cavaliers, which were resurgent at 2-0, are now retreating following consecutive losses to North Carolina and South Miss. The former was expected, but the latter was a stiff body blow to their hopes for progress in head coach Mike London’s second season on the job.

The Cavs need to get back on the rails now because the schedule won’t get any easier in the second half of the year. This is going to be an interesting trip for Idaho, which has never played in Charlottesville. Heck, the school has never faced a team from the ACC. The Vandals had hoped to be no worse than .500 by the end of the first month, but an opening day loss to Bowling Green sort of dropped the bar a bit lower. After hanging with Fresno State for a little more than a half, they ran out of steam and stops in a deflating 48-24 loss in Moscow.

Why Idaho Might Win: The Vandals are going to go about as far as the passing game will take them this fall. QB Brian Reader is a first-year starter, but he’s also a fifth-year senior with a nice feel for the offense. Without much of a ground game to lean on, he’ll go up top early and often, looking to connect with TE Michael LaGrone or one of his favorite receivers, Mike Scott or Armauni Johnson. Reader has adapted nicely to his expanded role, throwing eight touchdown passes and throwing more than 100 straight passes without an interception.

Why Virginia Might Win: LB TreShawn Robinson aside, the Idaho defense has been a wreck so far, ranking no higher than 100th nationally in scoring defense, total defense or sacks. This is the right opponent for the Cavaliers to recapture the offensive spark they had in the first two games. RB Perry Jones is the kind of playmaker who’ll move the chains as a receiver and a runner. Backfield mate Kevin Parks provides a little more punch, and has already scored six times on the ground.

That generous Vandals secondary, which gave up five touchdown passes to Fresno State’s Derek Carr last week, must keep WR Kris Burd from getting behind it. Idaho needs to have success through the air, but CB Chase Minnifield is the leader of a veteran defensive backfield looking to rebound from last week’s middling effort against Southern Miss.

What To Watch Out For: Is a quarterback controversy brewing in C’Ville? When starter Michael Rocco injured his ribs last Saturday, he’d already been picked off multiple times. Enter mega-recruit David Watford, who sparked the offense and darn near led a come-from-behind victory. Complicating the situation further, Rocco told reporters after the game that he was physically able to finish. Now what? Watford is considered the future, but is he the present as well? It’s a situation that bears watching this weekend and beyond.

What Will Happen: Virginia gets a good draw to snap its two-game losing streak. Idaho lacks the balance on offense to move the ball with any consistency, or the defense to make key stops when they’re needed. Whether it’s Rocco, Watford or some combination of the two, the Cavaliers will produce enough aerial connections to keep the Vandals from selling out to stop Jones and Parks. Forced to do too much, Reader will throw a couple of drive-killing interceptions in the second half.

CFN Prediction: Virginia 38 … Idaho 16
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Virginia -17.5   O/U: 63

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